For private purposes, would it be illegal if someone asked/paid a person to take photos of the outside of houses and send them to the person from which the photos are never publicly advertised or used for any commercial/monetary purposes -- but no express consent of any kind is established.

Mind that this is only the outside front of houses and contains no other identifying information.

One reason this might be for is eventually considering uploading them for Google/public maps.

1 Answer 1


In the US it is legal to take pictures of the parts of a house that are visible from public property. By legal I mean that there is no law forbidding it but you might break some other laws while you are doing it.

The reason that I say "from public property" is that the homeowner has no reasonable expectation of privacy.

  • Isn't the "reasonable expectation of privacy" test only relevant in the 4th amendment context?
    – user3851
    Mar 10, 2016 at 20:08
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    @Dawn that might be the most common use of the phrase but it applies to torts and statutory interpretation. See WI v Nelson (718 N.W.2d 168) and the internet-famous Catsouras case (181 Cal.App.4th 856) - be careful of this second one, it can become NSFW if you click the wrong link. Also look at analysis of the tort of intrusion, specifically No Harm, No Foul, in the Fordham Law Review.
    – jqning
    Mar 10, 2016 at 20:46
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    Just to add: For First Amendment reasons, photography is a form of speech. While a private person can prohibit use of a camera on premises under their control, and can have you charged with trespassing if you put them in the position to do so, the government cannot itself prohibit photography unless you are maybe a federal employee or inside a federal building.
    – moonman239
    Mar 11, 2016 at 7:50
  • You should amend your answer with the excellent content of your comment!
    – feetwet
    May 9, 2016 at 23:56

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