Cameras are everywhere nowadays. No one can get away from them. Sometimes, it is legal and other times it is not. Recording for different reasons are rather iffy. Did you know that recording audio of an employee without their knowledge is illegal? To be fair, it is only natural for an employee to want to record around their office building for security purposes. But when does the need for security go too far into invasion of privacy? Protect America advises that it would be wise to know the law and basic human rights before setting up a camera. Here are three interesting facts about security cameras and the legality of recording:

  • It is not legal to record sound on surveillance
  • Audio surveillance might not be legal depending on the state
  • WiFi Recording could turn a person into a cybercriminal

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    It is Not Legal to Record Sound on Surveillance

    There is a reason why most surveillance cameras lack audio. This is because it is illegal to record oral conversations. All thanks to the federal wiretap law. To sum up the law, it is a federal crime to record a conversation between two employees in the places like the break room or the bathroom. The only way that recording sound is legal is if one or more parties give their consent. Punishments can range from paying a fine from $250,000 or up to $500,000 for organizations or five years in prison. If a boss wants to keep their money and not do jail time, it is best to keep the surveillance footage on mute.

    Audio Surveillance Might Not be Legal Depending on the State

    Just like age of consent, audio surveillance is not an one-size-fits-all type of deal. Each state has a different set of laws when it comes to audio surveillance. Most states have specific that govern the use of electronic recordings of conversations of any kind. The website, Upcounsel, says

    “While an audio recording could be useful in an investigation or courtroom, most kinds of audio recordings are illegal. Using an audio recording device to record telephone and phone conversations, or conversations in a room or car, is illegal. United States Code, Title 18, Section 2510 says that verbal communication between two people believing that their conversation is not being intercepted is justifiable reason to assume it is not being recorded. In plain words, it means that audio recording is not legal unless both parties know it is taking place.”

    They also add,

    “Businesses can avoid legal problems if the employer informs the employees that recording is taking place when hiring, and by using a contract that is signed by the employee. Most states do not permit the use of covert audio in:

    • Public areas
    • Public workplaces
    • Public stores

    By posting signs, recording can be legal, if the signs state that both video and audio recording is taking place.”

    In other words, it is best to look up what state you are located in before setting up cameras.

    WiFi Recording Could Turn a Person Into a Cybercriminal

    What if the camera is attached to WiFi? The internet is not above the law. Privacy laws can apply to to using WiFi to record surveillance. However, there is a very thin line to walk here. There are two things to keep in mind before hitting record. One, nobody is allowed to record video in a location where people expect there to be a high level of privacy. So, no cameras are allowed in the bathroom or bedroom. And the second is not allow to record audio with the recording due to wiretapping laws.

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