A woman in a changing room.

@naeevalencia/TikTok

‘This is absolutely not allowed’: TikTok user says she saw cameras pointed at mall fitting room

The store says the camera wasn't active.

 

Braden Bjella

Internet Culture

Published Nov 17, 2021   Updated Nov 23, 2021, 10:56 pm CST

A TikTok user’s video has gone viral after she said that she found a security camera pointed at a fitting room in a mall.

The video, posted by TikTok user @naeevalencia, appears to show a security camera pointed toward the private fitting room at the Windsor store in Vintage Faire Mall in Modesto, California. The store says the camera is “not active.”

@naeevalencia

I know I’m not trippen & this is absolutely not allowed. Smh Windsor in Modesto Ca. #modesto #modestocalifornia209 #209 #windsor #clotheschange #popo

♬ Fire – Official Sound Studio

“You mean to tell me they watched me get naked,” says the text overlay in the video.

TikTok users were both appreciative of the discovery and struck with disbelief.

“Thank you I was literally about to change,” one commenter wrote.

“I have the same video,” noted another. “I was shopping when I seen it and when I told an employee they did NOTHING.”

Others didn’t believe that the camera was actually active.

“They fake cameras,” speculated one user.

“That camera is probably facing a whole completely opposite direction,” said another.

Eventually, Windsor itself hopped into the conversation, stating in a TikTok comment that the implementation of the camera was not the brand’s doing.

“We want to reassure you that this camera is from the previous brand and is not active,” the company said. “We’re also having it removed permanently.”

This did little to calm the nerve of the TikTok user who first shared the video.

“This store has been there for a while now & now [all of a sudden] you guys are getting rid of that camera for good,” wrote @naeevalencia. “I call BS.”

While finding a camera in a dressing room may be distressing, in many states, it is not illegal for stores to film someone in a fitting room.

Legal blog LegalBeagle notes that only 13 states expressly forbid dressing room surveillance without the permission of the shopper: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Utah—and, importantly for this case, California, where this Windsor store is allegedly located.

Even in states where filming is allowed, however, people must consent to be recorded. The Video Voyeurism Prevention Act clearly states that anyone who “knowingly” films a private area without consent is subject to fine or imprisonment.

As a result, most major chain retailers do not have security cameras in their changing rooms. An informal 2015 survey referenced by LegalBeagle found that in Evansville, Indiana—a city in a state where dressing room surveillance is legal—most stores do not use surveillance cameras in fitting rooms.

Chains found to abstain from this practice in the survey include Charlotte Russe, Dillard’s, The Gap, Old Navy, Macy’s, and Victoria’s Secret.

For the time being, users on TikTok have taken this video as a sign to be a little more careful in mall changing rooms.

“That’s why I don’t try things on in stores anymore,” one user said.

Update 10:55pm CT, Nov. 23: In nan emailed statement to the Daily Dot, Windsor Fashions said “the privacy and safety of our customers is of the utmost importance” to the brand.

“The camera in question was installed by a previous store tenant and was not active in any way since Windsor’s opening,” the statement said. “We permanently removed the non-operational camera in question once it was brought to our attention and sincerely apologize for any concern this may have caused.”


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*First Published: Nov 17, 2021, 12:44 am CST