Legality of Hidden Cameras in the Home, Office, and in Public Facilities
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Did you ever wonder why security camera signs are often placed in areas? They are not just for deterring criminals, but they may also be required. Read more for details.
Let us get this out of the way first. It is illegal to record video and audio with the purpose of blackmail or other "malicious intent". Even if you obey the recording laws in your state, you would still be breaking criminal behavior laws.
- Do not record for malicious purposes.
- Do not record video in private places like bathrooms
- Do not record audio without consent (one-party vs two-party)
- How to obtain consent
Video Recording Laws
Hidden camera laws are not as stringent as audio laws.
It is not legal in most states to record video in places where people have the expectation of privacy. This usually refers to places such as bathrooms and bedrooms.
It is legal to record video in a public setting, including outside and public areas in a home.
Even if it is legal to record in a private place in your state, it may not be morally acceptable to do so.
Wiretapping/Audio Recording Laws
Due to wiretapping laws, it is not legal to record audio if no conversation participants consent to the recording.
However, in the majority of states, it is legal to do so as long as one person in the conversation consents to the recording. For instance, if you are recording a conversation with yourself and someone who is causing you trouble, it is legal to do so in these states.
Take special care in these other states, there is a two-party (or all-party) system, where all parties in the conversation must give consent. These States are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Hawaii.
That raises the question... what happens if you aren't around to give consent while your security camera is running? Keep reading for details.
How to Obtain Consent
You can obtain consent by telling people that they are being recorded and they do not object. Another common way is to put up a sign or paper near the entrance or area being recorded clearly stating that Video and Audio are being recorded on the premises. This will also the added benefit of deterring thieves.
It is CRITICAL that you have consent for audio being recorded if you want to use it as evidence and not have it being used against you.
If you want the most up to date advice, we recommend contacting your attorney, as they will be able to provide you with the most accurate information regarding your situation.
Published October 28th, 2018