My Verditius has Craft Automata, so I was thinking of this:
Freedom of Movement (HoH:MC p. 130) allows the Automata to move to where the magus is pointing. Could we not add a Creo Mentem effect similar to the mental communication between maga and familiar (ArM5, p.105), so that the magus doesn't need to be in the physical presense of the automaton to direct its actions? Now, the magus casts Summoning the Distant Image (ArM5 p. 145) on the automaton (it's always a Arcane connection), so that the magus can see and hear in the locality of the automaton. We add another CrIm effect on the Automaton, so that it can speak when its master directs it. What we have is a robotic butler, remote operated by a magus.
If the butler greets visiting magi, is the controlling magus guilty of scrying? The automaton will immediately greet them and state that maga X of House Vertidius welcomes, so that it's in no way concealed.
I'm not familiar with the Tribunal sourcebooks, so I don't know if there are Tribunals where this would be acceptable or others where it would be an clear violation.
Yes. Using magic to see/hear other members of the Order is against the Code. If it were an independent automaton that did not have all the things to allow the seeing and hearing of other magi then it would be fine.
You could use it only in areas another magus could not be - your sanctum, but that would defeat the doorman/porter function of the device. It seems your magus wants it for his antechamber/public chambers or to greet at a public gate.
You might post "The Area Beyond Under Scrying" but I don't think that's going to work as a defense.
Oh well. I was thinking of using it to be an ambassador when dealing with the UnGifted. My magus also has the Blatant Gift, and I'd like be able to communicate with others without the Gift interfering. Unfortunately, visitors to the covenant are likely to be Order members, so this won't work.
Wasn't there something that area intelego magic without penetration not fall under the rule of scrying? But this might be only true for some Tribunal as the rules what is considered scry on a other mage is different in each tribunal.
I personal think the tribunal specific rule of scry on a non-magus when you could learn about the activities of a other mage should be applied for this automata as well.
Perhaps a potential remedy is to make the Automaton look like your Magus, or an obvious ID for you. If an obvious illusion passes as legal then an automaton which is also obviously representing your character should too. There is very little difference.
I'll add the qualifier of "...and no one will likely care" to the "yes, it's scrying" comment.
As others have pointed out - the restriction against scrying isn't absolute - Not like that "I shall not consort with demons" is. In Hermetic Law, there's a strong element of "how much harm was actually done", and "why are you wasting the Tribunal's time with this stupid legal case". As such, setting up an automaton probably won't get you into trouble, unless someone wants to make trouble - or if you're sending it to spy on other magi.
The relevant discussion is in HoH:TL, pg. 52 - which discusses the numerous exceptions to the "no scrying" rule. In particular, "If there is no intent, and no secrets revealed, the case is trivial."
As such, if you were just using it to greet people at your own door, in a location where it was customary to have a greeter or guard, I would say that most Tribunals would find you guilty, not charge you with anything, and fine the magi in question for being an asshat.
Also - tribunals are perfectly capable of setting up legal "if you mark it as a scrying zone in your own covenant, it's OK to scry in here for communication purposes" rules (although it's certainly easier just to use distance Creo and Rego spells to send information, rather than to try and retrieve it via Intelligo).
It is my understanding that although there is a Code and a Peripheral Code, it is not as strictly (and blindly) applied as it may look.
When I look at all the material published, it looks like the Order is more governed by gentle(wo)men agreements, common sense and politics than by a strict application of the law. Considering that we talk about a community of 1'200 people, roughly a tenth of that in each Tribunal, every mage with a few years in a Tribunal has heard - if not met in person - every other mages living there.
So a Quaesitor approached to give an opinion on that would agree that it could technically be considered scrying, but would discourage to bring the case to a Tribunal. He would not forbid to bring the case (because he cannot) and would not rule that it is not scrying as it would set a bad precedent, potentially allowing less scrupulous mages to see if they could leverage this case law to push the limit of scrying in their favour.
But a Verditius mage pushed by Hubris might try something like that to pester a colleague, without resorting to Vendetta (or in parallel to a Vendetta).
I agree, so long as the automaton (as thompsja suggested) makes it clear to any magus it interacts with that it's acting as a magical proxy for its creator. Having the features of the creator himself is certainly an option; but having a distinctive appearance that clearly identifies the automaton as a magical construct, and having it introduce itself as "I'm the magical proxy of magus X, who sees through my eyes and whose voice I speak with" would also count.
It would probably depend on the tribunal or the court. It is in a dark gray area, in that an automata does not inherently scry and thus having it represent you is not a clear indication of the use (unlike a distant image or communications mirror), but clearly an attempt at such is being made and while technically scrying that is clearly not the intent. On the other hand it would generally be on a "who cares" sort of basis.
Note that "scrying" does not mean "pass visual information to the magus in real time". Any sort of "information gathering" constitutes scrying, and it's fairly reasonable to assume that a mobile automaton can sense its surroundings, thereby acquiring such information - and eventually passing it on to its creator, which is the catch. You want to make bystanders aware that the automaton is a proxy for a magus (which is not obvious if the automaton looks just like a normal squirrel); not that it's aware of its surroundings (which most bystanders will assume, unless it looks inanimate).