Summer is upon us, and so too are the dangers of warmer weather. Practicing proper summer safety can help to keep you safe. Aside from itchy bug bites and unpleasant sunburns, here are ways to prevent and treat some common health issues.
Generally, these insects use their stingers when they need to defend themselves.
A sting can be painful and itchy, but for those that are allergic, it can be life-threatening.
These three poison plants contain urushiol, which is an oily resin in the leaves. Contact with this causes a blistered, itchy rash in most people. Pets and clothes can also pick up the sap, and smoke from burning the leaves can carry it into the lungs.
Become familiar with that these plants look like. That way, you can actively avoid coming in contact if you come across them. Both poison ivy and oak have three leaves in clusters and grow as shrubs or vines (ivy). Poison sumac is a tall, tree-like shrub with rows of leaves.
If you live in the Los Angeles area, you know we have been experiencing some heat waves as of late. Those with an increased risk for heat-related illnesses include older adults (especially those with chronic illnesses), children 4 and under, males, and African Americans.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, get out of the heat and get to an emergency room as soon as possible. If heat stroke is left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems and even death.
Athlete’s Foot/Jock Itch
Dermatophytes are highly contagious fungi that thrive in warm, moist, dark areas. These can include athletic shoes post-workout or a wet bathing suit. When they come in contact with the skin, a person will develop a brownish-red rash between the toes, in the groin, or under breasts. Generally, this will not go away on its own.
This occurs when water gets trapped in your ear, which leads to a bacterial infection causing pain, itching, and inflammation. Too much moisture can change the microflora of the ear canal, allowing bacteria to multiply.
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Security cameras are a great way to keep an eye on your property or business. You can use them to look after your loved ones, protect your inventory, or deter intruders all together. As appealing as security camera systems are, it is wise to know and understand your local surveillance laws.
Before you invest in your own security cameras, please review these general guidelines. Remember, these are not meant to apply to your specific situation. Instead, they are meant to give you a general idea of what is and is not allowed. If you have any further questions regarding filming restrictions and such, please contact a local attorney or research laws within your city and state.
Camera placement is important because you want to capture high traffic areas, such as entrances and back doors. If you direct your camera at an insignificant area, you will waste time and money while defeating the purpose of your security system.
Placement is also important because there are areas that are off limits, including restrooms, other people’s homes, dressing rooms and locker rooms. Basically anywhere that there is an expectation of privacy, or you are likely to be in a state of undress, is off limits.
If you are unsure whether or not you are violating someone’s right to privacy, err on the side of caution and always consult a lawyer.
If you own a retail business, you may worry that customers might be committing crimes in blind spots such as dressing rooms, locker rooms, or restrooms. While legally you cannot monitor these areas, you can monitor the entrances/exits. Be sure that when the door opens, your camera does not get any glimpse of what’s behind that door, otherwise you could get into trouble. If a person goes into a restroom or dressing room with some inventory, and then exits without it that is a suggestion of a crime.
Areas that are viewable to the public are generally legal to film. This is how Google is able to provide the 360-degree street view for Google Maps. However, it is ill-advised to point your security cameras at your neighbor’s home. Whatever situation that warranted your desire or need to film your neighbor’s home could become escalated. Whether you are the one filming or the one being filmed, you may want to first speak with your neighbor about camera placement.
With audio recording, Federal Law only requires one person to know about the recording taking place. State laws will provide different regulations. Remember that federal law creates a baseline for laws. That is, state laws cannot allow for any less than one informed party.
Audio is not allowed to be obtained through eavesdropping or remote recording. Because at least one of the parties must know of the recording, you are not permitted to record conversations you are not a part of since you do not count as one of the parties. Even if the conversation is taking place in a public area, the parties can still expect privacy which protects them from eavesdroppers. In the same vein, you cannot leave your unattended recorder somewhere and use the recordings as evidence.
The easiest way to get around audio recording rules is to make the party aware that they are being recorded. For example, often times when you call a customer service line, you will likely hear, “This call may be recorded…” Continuing the conversation after this notification is usually viewed as consent. Thus, once you have informed someone that a room is being monitored by audio surveillance, they have the choice to continue their conversation in that room or move the discussion to a different room.
You may also record a person so long as you don’t intend on using the recording for illegal acts. Because one party is aware of the recording, the act of recording is not illegal. However, if your recording contains private information that is covered by the common law privacy, you may get into some hot water. The private information could be things like medical history (ex. miscarriage, abortion) so be sure to understand what is and is not covered.
The Constitution & Surveillance
The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from “…unreasonable searches and seizures…” and details the rights of privacy. While you may think that some public security cameras would count as unreasonable, the case of Delaware v. Prouse will tell you otherwise. In this case, the Supreme Court stated that “people are not shorn of all Fourth Amendment protection when they step from their homes onto the public sidewalks”.
As far as the First Amendment goes, there has not been any critique on a camera’s existence suppressing behavior. In fact, in the Laird v. Tatum case, the court found that government surveillance of anti-war protesters did not hinder their freedom of expression. This can help security camera owners when there are accusations of civil liberty violations.
The First Amendment also gives you the right to document civil servants as they are performing their civic duties. The recordings are simply viewed as a way of exercising your rights. Officers may ask you to stop recording and ask for the evidence, however, you do not have to submit to their requests unless they have a warrant for your property.
The only instance in which you may be violating the law is if you are interfering with an investigation. This is often used to remove reporters from a crime scene, but your personal security camera should not interfere with the investigation. In fact, your video surveillance may be of use for the investigation.
If you ever wondered why most security cameras do not have microphones, it is because, in some cases, you may need dual consent to record audio. Violating dual consent is a felony. Your best bet is to get consent to be taped before recording, and then again as the first order of business when the recording begins. Off tape and on record consent will cover your bases if you are sued for violating wiretap laws. And although it is deemed “dual consent”, you must get the express consent of everyone being recorded.
The following states may have variations on the law and should be further researched: California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
The employer must have a legitimate reason for recording. The off limits areas include restrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms. There may also be restrictions in the break room. Again, you cannot record any place in which a person should expect privacy. However, anywhere that an employee interacts with a customer can be monitored. For example, the sales floor is fair game, but a personal office may not be. You will need to use your best judgment or consult an attorney. Disclosing the use of surveillance equipment to your workers will cover your bases for any illegal wiretapping issues.
The biggest restriction for recording employees is in regards to unions. An employer may not record union activities such as meetings or even discussions about union business. And surveillance cannot be used to intimidate current or prospective members of the union.
Evidence for Trial
When you submit any type of recording to a court of law, the evidence is put on trial. The validity and handling of this evidence is then scrutinized. You, as the recorder, must prove that the evidence was in no way doctored. You must go through the steps of how the footage was obtained (ex. how the video was recorded, where the camera was located, the quality of the camera at different times of day, how it was stored, etc.), and verify the whereabouts of the evidence as it was transported to court. When the footage is not in court, it must be securely stored. The integrity of your recording may be compromised if there is any data loss due to a power surge or data dump.
With this information, you should be able to make informed decisions when it comes to your security camera system. If you have any tips to share, please connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
For a great selection of quality security cameras, full CCTV surveillance packages, and more, please visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com. To learn more about our installation and services, or to schedule a site survey, please call 1-888-203-6294.
Smart home technology offers more than just convenience for simple tasks. These smart devices can help safeguard your home and loved ones from the hidden dangers of your home. These are just some of the many ways you can use smart home technology to protect your property.
Do you live in an area prone to floods? Or do you simply want to know when there might be a water leak? Invest in a flood sensor, which can help you detect leaks or floods before it’s too late. Some sensors come with a smart valve shut off, which could automatically save your property from damage.
Protect Your Children
Aside from flood sensors, there are motion sensors that you can install as well. While these can alert you when a door or window is opened, you can also install them on different things around the house. Keep your kids out of the liquor or medicine cabinets, and even knife drawer if you choose. This can keep your mind at ease when your kids are home alone.
Most burglars will target empty homes since there is less chance of getting caught. So how do you prevent your home from becoming a target when you’re away? Invest in smart appliances that can make it appear as if you are home. These allow you to program lights to turn on and off in the evening. Some devices can even record your light patterns and play them back when you’re away.
Of course, you can always inform a trusted neighbor of your upcoming vacation and politely ask them to pick up the mail and keep an eye on things while you’re away. But investing in home security devices and systems couldn’t hurt.
Do you use any smart home devices? How have they helped you? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and now, LinkedIn. You can also find us on Vine and Pinterest.
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Smart homes allow you to connect different aspects of your home, including things like appliances, alarms, and sensors. Most find this concept alluring since you can control your appliances and home security remotely, allowing you peace of mind whether you are at home or away.
With the convenience provided by these smart home systems comes considerable risk. Some devices, while acting as a helpful tool, could end up hurting you if access to your system fell into the wrong hands.
In hopes to identify potential security risks and call attention to producers of smart home systems and devices, a team made up of Earlence Fernandes, Jaeyeon Jung, and Atul Prakash joined forces to look at different systems. The systems under study were those that were larger and more popular with consumers. They looked at common features, how devices interacted with each other, which third-party apps were supported, and most importantly, security features, among other aspects.
From this study, two major flaws were found:
Akin to your smartphone asking for permission to access certain things on your phone, certain smart home devices and apps can access different functions with your permission. The problem therein lies in how these functions are grouped together.
For example, if an app can automatically lock a door after 9pm, it likely has the privilege to unlock it, although that function is not necessary. The app developer cannot ask for permission to lock a door without the ability to unlock it.
Most apps have access to more functions than they need, putting your security at risk.
Because devices and apps can communicate through messaging (think instant messenger), sensitive data sent through this system can be vulnerable. For example, a door lock’s PIN code may be sent in a message. Since these messages are not entirely secure, any software that has the most basic access to your device can receive all the messages that the device generates or receives.
Other apps can also “impersonate” smart home equipment, in that, they can send messages that look like messages sent from real smart home devices. The phony app could possibly read and steal the network’s ID and then create a message.
Testing The Flaws
The team of researchers then created four different attacks to show how attackers could use the aforementioned flaws to their advantage.
For the first attack, they created an app that’s purpose was to simply monitor battery levels of various wireless devices around the home. However, after a user downloads the app, it can be reprogrammed to monitor other messages sent by those devices.
In the second attack, they were able to listen to the supposedly secure messages between an app and its companion mobile device. The team was able to impersonate the mobile device and send commands to the app, such as creating a new PIN which would give an attacker access to your home.
The third and fourth attacks involved disabling and enabling different functions. For example, a custom app could disable “vacation mode,” which allows the system to turn lights on and off to make the home seem as if it is occupied. Another app was able to falsely trigger a fire alarm by acting as a carbon monoxide monitor.
Just because smart home systems currently have security flaws does not mean these systems and the Internet of Things do not have great potential. As of now, if you are considering adopting a smart home system, much like anything else, proceed with caution. You might want to think twice about giving third party apps access to your devices, and do some research on the security of the system you choose.
As security and technology improves with these systems, the Internet of Things and smart home systems will likely see much wider adoption. This could eventually lead to better quality of living.
Have you considered adopting a smart home system now or in the future? Do you currently employ any smart home devices? Share your thoughts and experiences with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Pinterest.
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Imagine coming home and finding that your house had been ransacked. It is a terrible feeling that we would never wish upon anyone, but, unfortunately, it does happen. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there are approximately 2 million burglaries every year in the United States. There are security measures you can take to try and prevent thieves, but if you find yourself a victim of a break-in, be sure you know which steps to take immediately.
Call the police. This should be your first instinct, but a reminder doesn’t hurt. Also, try not to touch anything in case the police want to dust for fingerprints.
If you think the intruders may still be in your home, leave. Get back into your car and go to a trusted neighbor, family, or friend’s house. Remember that your life is more important than any material things.
After you have contacted the police and the chaos has died down, you should call your insurance agent. Create an inventory of the items stolen, and anything that was damaged during the burglary. If the police report is not ready yet, take note of important details, such as the police report number, the law enforcement agency and the name of the officer that took the report, etc. You will be able to update your claim throughout the process, so don’t fret if you are unsure of everything that was stolen yet. Depending on the severity of the case, you can handle your claim online, over the phone, or a claims representative may visit.
Improve Your Home Security
Now that you have gotten the ball rolling on your police report and insurance claim, you may want to consider investing in a home security system, or upgrading your existing equipment. Because burglars know you will replace your belongings, you are likely to become a victim again. Typically, they will wait at least six months to a year to return. In that time, you can set up a home security system that will deter them or potentially catch them in the act. And if they don’t return, a security system can help you rest easy at night, and may even lower your insurance rates.
You should let the police do their work and stay out of their way, but you might notice things that they may have missed. You can offer leads to the police, but you should not get your hopes up. For example, one homeowner whose television was stolen purposefully did not change her Netflix password. Eventually the homeowner realized that the thief was accessing her account through the stolen TV. Police were able to track down the IP address, but they could not render help until much later. By the time they had tracked down the stolen TV, the criminals were long gone. Despite the fact that this incident did not end happily, any leads you may come across might have a different outcome.
If you have any post-burglary or home security tips you would like to share, feel free to connect with us on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. You can also find us on Vine and Pinterest.
Beef up your home or business security with our wide selection of CCTV security cameras, surveillance equipment, and more. Visit us online or call 1-888-203-6294 for more information.