Gov’t Cameras Have Spied on Public Bathrooms in Mason County, Michigan Since Late ’90s

image credit:
Tom Rotta/

Madison Ruppert
Activist Post

Individuals in Mason County, Michigan have been taped while in public bathrooms since the late 1990s via surveillance cameras placed by the government, something which city officials recently confirmed.

Given that hackers can quite easily hijack cameras to remotely watch whatever the camera is capturing, it’s not surprising to see that local residents are concerned.

Michigan cities also seem to have an affinity for surveillance cameras. In October 2012 I reported on the fact that surveillance cameras were being placed outside of private residences in Michigan. It’s quite obvious, however, that surveillance cameras in bathrooms violate privacy even more egregiously.

The cameras were installed after a string of incidents of vandalism, according to City Manager John Shea of Ludington, Michigan, but the man responsible for uncovering the ubiquitous use of the cameras argues it’s a massive invasion of privacy.

Shay told the local Fox affiliate that the cameras are only pointed at common areas like the sink and not stalls or other private areas.

However, Tom Rotta, who heavily documented the use of these cameras, showed that they are indeed pointing at bathroom stalls and urinals.

Rotta has filed a complaint with the Michigan State Police over the placement of the cameras.

Fox 17 reports that there is a sticker in the men’s bathroom indicating that surveillance cameras are in place as well as a sign outside the women’s bathroom.

Rotta cites Section 750.539j of the Michigan Penal Code to support his argument, highlighting the sections which state, “A person shall not… Surveil, Photograph, or otherwise capture or record another individual… under circumstances in which the individual would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

He points out that a “reasonable expectation of privacy” includes public bathrooms, and indeed it seems obvious that even in a public bathroom stall you have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

While officials claim that the cameras only film the common areas, Rotta was able to capture images from the same angle of the surveillance camera which show that is not the case.

The angle at which the camera operates can be seen below, along with images of some of the placements of the cameras:

(Image credit: Tom Rotta/




(Image credit: Tom Rotta/



(Image credit: Tom Rotta/



(Image credit: Tom Rotta/



(Image credit: Tom Rotta/

However, those pale in comparison to the smoke detector camera:


(Image credit: Tom Rotta/

Some might claim it is just a regular smoke detector. Indeed, it could be. That is, unless, someone was able to obtain the invoice for the “color smoke detector camera.” That’s precisely what Rotta did:


(Image credit: Tom Rotta/

The most disturbing aspect of the below images of the smoke detector cameras is that, “All shots were taken while sitting on the toilets,” according to Rotta.


(Image credit: Tom Rotta/



(Image credit: Tom Rotta/



(Image credit: Tom Rotta/



(Image credit: Tom Rotta/

The Ludington Police Department claim that they’ve “only looked at the video twice in the past 12 years and again a third time when Rotta filed for a copy,” according to Fox 17, though one would just have to take their word for it.

Rotta told Fox 17 that he’s concerned that the tapes are being sold and that he’s now considering organizing a class action lawsuit against the city for invasion of privacy.I’d love to hear your opinion, take a look at your story tips and even your original writing if you would like to get it published. I am also available for interviews on radio, television or any other format. Please email me at

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This article first appeared at End the Lie.

Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on UCYTV Monday nights 7 PM – 9 PM PT/10 PM – 12 AM ET. Show page link here: http://UCY.TV/EndtheLie. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at

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