So, if you are curious about till what extent can you make use of your surveillance cameras, you have come to the right place. In this article, you will read about different facts and laws made for the correct use of surveillance cameras at home or in a residential space.
Various states across the country have their own camera laws, including municipalities, counties and parishes. But what is the importance of such jurisdiction?
Always check with the following jurisdiction before installing security cameras at your home-
- Local or Municipal
- County or Parish
You might have a lot of questions regarding at what point you feel your neighbor is intruding your privacy. Here are answers to all your questions.
Laws Regarding Consent to Record Someone
There are million reasons why one should install home security cameras, but here are some legal quirks and restrictions you need to follow to actively use surveillance cameras on your property.
At the national level, there are two sets of laws you should consider before setting up surveillance cameras at your home. Let’s read about it.
- Expectation of Privacy Laws
Generally, it is legal to record a video in public, which goes for the doorbell and security cameras as well. But, recording someone also has a limit to a reasonable expectation of privacy boundaries. A reasonable expectation of privacy might mean not recording in private spaces such as bathrooms, changing rooms, locker rooms, hotel rooms, bedrooms, which are generally off limits without the consent of the third-party.
But it does not apply for your own bathroom, bedroom etc. in your own house. It does not lead you into a legal problem. To stay completely off the trouble, it is always better to avoid the above-mentioned spaces to record.
- One-Party Consent Laws
In case of audio recording of a private conversation between two people, one-party consent law enables the person to record phone calls, or in case of home security cameras, you are allowed to record in-person conversations but with consent of at least one of the parties.
As long as an adult, who is a part of the conversation, gives consent to be recorded with audio, you are free to keep recording their private conversations with your home surveillance equipment.
Out of the many states in the United States, only 15 specific states have their own laws and regulations around surveillance cameras being placed at home including some cities and counties as well.
Here is a list of laws for several states, in case you do not spot your city in the city, check your city’s website for more information regarding surveillance camera laws. Also, if the below listed laws are broken, the homeowner might face serious charges.
In California, it is illegal to video record a conversation between two or more people which is considered confidential.
In Hawaii, you need consent of the parties involved in the conversation to be video recorded on your home-installed cameras.
In Georgia, you are allowed to record someone publicly and privately using the surveillance cameras, as long as the cameras are in plain sight.
- Tennessee, Michigan and Utah
Even though no kind of permission is required to install surveillance cameras in public places in the following states, but you do require consent to record through hidden cameras at private places.
You require consent from each party involved in the conversation at a private place in order to video/audio record them.
- Florida, Alabama and Minnesota
These states allow video recording through hidden surveillance cameras at non-private settings. To understand non-private settings better, refer to the “expectation of privacy” law above.
- New Hampshire, Maine, Kansas, South Dakota and Delaware
The law “Expectation of Privacy” applies in all the above-mentioned states, which states that you need consent in order to use hidden camera surveillance at home.
Legality of Using Hidden Cameras at Home
Remember the days when housewives would secretly record the nannies in order to see how they treat their children behind their back. Long gone are those days, but even today hidden cameras are legal to use only if they adhere by the “Expectation of Privacy” law.
While there are several how-to’s and instructional videos online explaining how to effectively hide the surveillance cameras at home, but before jumping into that, it would be wise if you consider the potential ramification of recording your guests or someone known without their consent.
Surveillance cameras that record audio along with video have tougher laws around them as compared to just video cameras, therefore, keep the laws in mind while purchasing the audio camera for your house. It is always wise to go through the legislation of your state before installing the camera set-up.
Best Practices for Outdoor Surveillance Cameras
Even though outdoor cameras do not have as strict laws as the indoor cameras do, there is always a chance of breaching privacy of your neighbors. Outdoor cameras, including video doorbells, require to be stationed around your house or property but it is illegal to point your camera towards a room, space or house of your neighbors, which is their private space.
You are allowed to point your outdoor cameras towards the street or your outside front or back porch, but once you start recording your neighbors doing, that is when you are breaching their privacy and they can take legal action against you. So be careful while placing your cameras outside.
How to Register for Surveillance System or Cameras?
Some counties and states require you to register for the security cameras and alarm systems with the local and municipal governments. While the number of municipalities that require you to register is small, more and more municipalities are adopting this requirement as home surveillance cameras become more popular and common in today’s world.
Often, the company installing the system at your house applies for the initial registration for the installation, and the homeowner is required to fill out the rest of the formalities. The intent of registration reducing the risk of false alarm calls by emergency responders.
Sometimes the risk of using a camera is not from hackers, data thieves or home intruders, it is from the Law system itself. Using Home surveillance cameras is a combination of protecting users while allowing yourself to be put at legal risks. But following the above rules, you are all safe!