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Laws And Regulations On Surveillance Cameras

Buying your own home brings a lot of joy and a lot of worries. While women may be most interested in furnishing the interior, men may prefer to deal with home security. However, installing a home security system comes hand in hand with specific laws and regulations to keep in mind. Our article will show you what is considered illegal surveillance or how not to violate the right to a neighbor’s privacy.

Generally speaking, there is a conflict of rights in the operation of almost every camera system. On the one hand, there is the protection of personal data. On the other hand, the right to own and protect property. Before you get a home surveillance system in place, you should educate yourself about federal jurisdiction and laws and regulations related to your city, county, state, or country.

Home video surveillance laws by state

Currently, 15 US states have specific laws regarding security cameras. Let’s mention some of the exceptions:

  • Alabama, Florida, and Minnesota: video surveillance or the use of hidden cameras is forbidden in all places where someone has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
  • Hawaii: before installing security cameras, you need the consent of the people being watched.
  • California: making a video recording of communications considered confidential is illegal.
  • Georgia: using video surveillance cameras is allowed as long as the cameras are in plain sight.

💡 Tip: Visit your town or county’s website to find detailed information about the use of home security cameras in your home.

Can neighbors have security cameras towards your house?

It may be upsetting to see a security camera on your neighbor’s facade pointing towards your house or driveway. You are concerned about your privacy and may have a valid reason to believe that your neighbors are breaking the law. So what’s the legal background?

Your neighbors have the right to install security cameras on their houses, even if these cameras are pointed at your property. However, they do not have the right to record you without your consent, especially in situations that invade your privacy. For example, if a neighbor’s security camera is pointed directly at your window and you suspect that the camera is recording, this may mean an invasion of privacy.

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The bottom line is that your neighbor has the right to install security cameras on their property for their protection. Therefore, if these cameras are not recording private information, they may be recording someone else’s property in the camera’s view. And so can you – you can put cameras around your house to protect your property the same way.

CCTV warning signs

Posting „CCTV in operation“ signs is not required by law if the camera is in plain view in a public place. We are more likely to see CCTV signs at businesses than at homes. 

💡 Tip: If you want to avoid potential consent issues (especially if your county, state, or country requires it), posting a sign may save you from potential litigation.

So far, we have only mentioned outdoor security cameras. But what about the use of indoor security cameras? When do they mean an invasion of privacy?

Can I put cameras in my house without my wife/husband’s knowledge?

Seriously, why would you keep it a secret? It’s common for us to use security cameras inside our homes. And it is appropriate and proper that all family members know about indoor security cameras and agree to their use. It’s all about securing your home, not spying on your loved ones.

But there is one situation where you can tolerate spying – the use of a baby monitor. The purpose is to keep an eye on your children, so nothing happens to them while you’re having your afternoon coffee or chatting with friends. In this case, you don’t have to deal with the legal side – we’re just watching OUR babies.

When you have some visitors, the situation is different. It’s okay to leave your video recording on when you have visitors at your home, so you can keep an eye on them. However, you must inform the guests about the camera and recording.

Video and audio recordings

Keep in mind that the legislation concerning audio recording is much stricter than the legislation about video recording. Therefore, when choosing home security cameras, consider whether you need a camera with audio recording.

To better understand how tricky it is to have a security camera with audio recording, let’s look at the facts relevant to the US:

  • Video recording is allowed in all 50 US states.
  • Audio recording (even if it is part of a video recording) falls under the one-party consent rule, so at least one person must give you consent to record.
  • In 11 states, all parties involved must give consent to record audio:
    • California
    • Connecticut
    • Florida
    • Illinois
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • Montana
    • Nevada
    • New Hampshire
    • Pennsylvania
    • Washington

Whether it is a hidden camera or a camera located in a visible place, be sure to check the guidelines of your city, county, and state first.

How about business security camera laws?

To put this topic in a nutshell, it is legal for employers to install video recording cameras in their workplaces. However, some exceptions apply to video recording. You cannot record people in places that are considered private

Here are the most common private places where you can get into trouble with a security camera:

  • Bathrooms / toilets
  • Changing rooms
  • Hotel rooms
  • Restrooms
  • Employee lounges

To sum it up, you can install video surveillance systems in your business as long as you don’t violate an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

Ignorance of the law and regulations on surveillance cameras is no excuse

As you can see, the topic of home security cameras is varied, and most importantly – each country/state has its laws and regulations on surveillance security cameras. If you are interested in this topic, don’t just stay with this article, be sure to explore the internet and read other interesting articles on security cameras topic.

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To lighten the subject a little… Home security cameras don’t just make you feel safe and keep thieves and intruders away from your house. They also bring a lot of funny moments. Check out some of them in this Fail Army video!

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers, and therefore we do not provide legal advice with this article. The information in this article is general and can be applied to many situations. Each city, county, state, or country may have its laws and regulations on surveillance cameras to follow. If you are looking for legal advice on home security, contact a lawyer.

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