Before you record conversations or communication using your phone, a camera or hidden recording device in the US, it is imperative that you understand the legalities of recording with these devices. It is legal to record using a hidden camera inside your home. You can do this without getting consent from the person that is being recorded for the most part. However, you need to keep in mind that audio recording and video recording are entirely different entities.
What to Do Before Using Spy Cameras and Nanny Cams
Before you go ahead and install spy cameras and nanny cans in your home, make sure that you understand what your state laws say about that. You need to make sure that your particular state laws allow you to make this kind of recording. Just to be safe and avoid any potential lawsuit, it will be a good idea to speak with an attorney about how you plan to use your camera. In most of the states, it is not legal to record in any area, including inside your home, that is considered private or has a reasonable expectation of privacy, for instance, your bedroom, other people’s bedrooms and so on.
Two Party Consent States
Two party consent just means that all people that are part of a conversation must agree before the conversation can be recorded. While they are known as two-party consent laws, it is important to understand that consent should be obtained from everyone that is part of a conversion or call if it involves many people. The 12 states where the two party consent law applies include California, Delaware, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, Michigan, New Hampshire, Washington and Pennsylvania. In many of these states, the fact everyone that is participating in a conversation or a call knows that you are recording and carry on with the conversation anyway may be enough, regardless of whether they provide explicit voice consent or not.
Recording With A Hidden Camera In Public
Usage of a hidden camera in public has some legal particulars that you need to know. When in an open space where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy, for instance, a park, restaurant or shopping mall, you may covertly record using a hidden camera. But if you happen to be in a public place with an expectation of privacy such as a bathroom, locker room, change room, hotel room and soon, it may be illegal to covertly record. You also need to keep in mind that it is illegal in any state in the US to record with a hidden camera for malicious intent such as blackmail. If you record under these circumstances, all rights will be waived even if you followed the law to the letter when making the recordings.
Laws surrounding audio recording tend to be clearer compared to laws regarding hidden cameras in most states. Both federal and state laws require one of the individuals that are participating in a conversation to consent when recording an in-person conversation or a phone call. Most states insist on two-part consent in situations where the recording device is being used in a private area.