[ HOA Board Complaint ]

Forest Brooke HOA is watching YOU!

It's creepy, costly, and you have no control over it.

Forest Brooke Homeowners Association Board of Directors don't want you to know that they committed an alarming $9,000 of community funds on a surveillance system to monitor homeowners' and visitor movements in and out of the subdivision.

This tracking endangers the privacy and safety of Forest Brooke homeowners. Who knows when you're not home?

Everyone ought to have a right to pass through a community without being tracked and without unintentionally revealing personal details and patterns about how they spend their day.

What's the problem?

On January 12th, 2021 the Forest Brooke HOA had two “Flock Safety” surveillance cameras installed in the non-avoidable entry and exit thoroughfare to the Forest Brooke subdivision on Bethelview Road. This was decided without any prior consultation with Forest Brooke homeowners on cost or other concerns.

The cost of the system is more than ten times higher than equivalent non-intrusive and more effective video monitoring systems that have much better privacy controls and don't put homeowners at risk. This is just plain bad business.

The “Flock Safety” system is part of a nationwide data collection network that is used to track US residents, regardless of suspicion, provably provides no effective security and is of only limited use as a deterrent.

"It does not discriminate between people who are involved in crimes and people who are innocent. It just collects data on everyone, with the assumption that maybe one day you might commit a crime," - Dave Maass, Director of Investigations at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

More than a year after installation, Forest Brooke homeowners are still in the dark about who has access to information and patterns sourced from this intrusive surveillance system that can indicate, by simple analysis, whether any Forest Brooke home is occupied or not and what companies and authorities this is shared with.

The Forest Brooke HOA Board has embarrassingly overspent, overreached on their mandates, and compromised the privacy and security of homeowners for no material benefit to the community. And you have no say on the matter.

Where can I find out more?

Things to Know Before Your Neighborhood Installs an Automated License Plate Reader

You are being tracked: how license plate readers are being used to record American's movements

Inside ‘TALON,’ the Nationwide Network of AI-Enabled Surveillance Cameras

Flock Safety Says Its License Plate Readers Reduce Crime. It’s Not That Simple

System reads number plates and takes pictures of cars (and the public CAN'T opt out)

"Flock Safety" and police cam-share programs encourage neighborhoods to spy on the public

Has “Flock Safety” worked in other neighborhoods?

A survey of residents of four Atlanta area neighborhoods who have “Flock Safety” implemented provided the following comments:

“It 100% does not deter crime.”

“The police would appreciate the extra evidence, but unless you can catch the crime in view of the camera it isn't legally helpful.”

“This is a company selling invasions of privacy as a security feature.”

“Useless. Most of the cars used to commit crimes around here are either stolen or have temp/no tags anyway. I mean, folks have no problem stealing packages off porches that obviously have doorbell cameras. They just hide their face to do it.”

“At best it might give you some false peace of mind or sense of security.”

“Everyone in my neighborhood seems to have a ring or nest doorbell. If there’s suspicious activity there are 50 neighbors posting footage on Nextdoor app in minutes.”

“Add ‘wants to track all my movements’ to reasons to dislike HOA neighborhoods.”

“Really creepy. Counties have license plate readers all over the place, why should my subdivision have to pay for one too?”

How effective is “Flock Safety” in Forest Brooke?

In April 2021, there were four incidents in the neighborhood, one of which required Forsyth County Sheriff's intervention. The spy cameras played no role in detecting, deterring, or resolving these incidents.

In this same timeframe, there have been five additional incidents in which tennis players from other neighborhoods have used Forest Brooke facilities without permission from or the presence of a Forest Brooke neighbor. Surveillance played no part in preventing or resolving these incidents too.

In the role of securing our neighborhood, the “Flock Safety” surveillance system has proven to be ineffective and expensive security theatre.

Can I opt out?

No. “Flock Safety” gives an option to be added to an exclusion list, which is not the same as opting out. The company still retains a record of your vehicle's movement without your specific license plate information.

If you live in the Forest Brooke subdivision, you have no alternative way to enter or exit the neighborhood. It is unavoidable that you, your family, and visitors' vehicle movements are captured. That information is accessed by and shared with people and companies you are unaware of and can't control.

If you do not live in the Forest Brooke neighborhood, you have no way to request exclusion from being spied on by the Forest Brooke HOA.

The HOA is also refusing to give access to homeowners to retrieve footage that is captured on the surveillance cameras.

How much is this creepy surveillance costing homeowners?

The Forest Brooke HOA Board, specifically "President" Larry Zimmerman and "Vice President" Michael Barron, have committed to a 2-year rental agreement for two cameras with “Flock Safety,” and a total cost through the end of 2022 is $9,000.

Even if security measures and public deterrence are a factor of concern to our neighbors and if having visual awareness of the non-optional entry thoroughfare to the neighborhood is of comfort, it can be achieved with a $199 solar powered outdoor security camera that can be bought, installed and privacy and access secured (with transparent oversight and documented processes) for under $350 per camera, with no recurring fees, third party obligations or data sharing.

Spending $9,000 instead of $700 for the same or better service is irresponsible and just bad business.

What could $9,000 of Forest Brooke community funds buy instead?

For more information or to be confidentially included in the community action against this apparent breach of fiduciary duty by the HOA, simply email: privacycase@forestbrooke.org