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CCTV Audio Surveillance Laws by state LAW
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Last revised: April 15, 2014
Audio Surveillance Equipment Issues and Legalities.

Audio surveillance equipment such as surveillance microphones are useful tools to add to your CCTV Surveillance systems, however federal, state, and local laws must be considered before implementing such systems.  Microphones allow operators of surveillance systems to not only see what is going on at their home or business, but also allow you to hear what is going on.  Having audio surveillance is a big step into making your business safe, productive, and secure. You will be able to hear what is being said and you can ensure that employees are safe.
Using audio surveillance microphones should be planned carefully and it is very important that you ensure you understand the laws of your state, city and county before installing audio devices. Here are just a few reasons why:

*If you record a private conversation, you are in danger of being accused of not only eavesdropping on the conversation, but wiretapping as well. This is allowed in some states but only if one of the parties is consenting (think of police wires). In many states though, you can be legally charged with eavesdropping, and that is not something you want when all you did was put a microphone on a camera.

*Some states (see below for all states) will allow covert video surveillance but not audio surveillance, so if you have a camera with a built-in microphone, you need to make sure you either have it turned off, or you buy one without it. There are several legal ramifications to this and you are best to simply avoid the audio surveillance in general if your state does not allow it.

*This is not to scare you away from using audio surveillance, because as we have stated it is a very good tool in the fight to keep people safe, and keep your business or home secure. There are many ways that you can ensure you are able to avoid the legal ramifications of audio taping your employees.  You may inform them to the fact that they are both video recorded and recorded through audio surveillance when they are hired, through a contract they sign.

Most states (see below) will not allow any sort of ‘covert’ audio in public workplaces, public areas or public stores, however there are ways to get around this and that is through signage and the proper communications to employers and public advisement. When you have a sign up that states not only that the area is under video surveillance but also that audio surveillance is being used, then you are alerting people that they are being recorded through audio and if they choose to stay where they are being recorded, then they are agreeing and CONSENTING to the fact their voice is being recorded.  Many employers are now including audio recording information in employee handbooks, which are all signed and dated, while retail stores will post signs to show customers they are being audio recorded.

SKYTOUCH Solutions LLC highly recommends that you research the local and state laws, federal laws related to audio surveillance before implementing such systems.  At the time of this writing, audio surveillance recording falls under federal wire-tapping laws. You should consult your attorney to make sure that what you are doing is in compliance before implementing any audio surveillance equipment.

Audio Surveillance State by State Laws: One Party Consent Statutes
There are 38 states, and the District of Columbia, that allow individuals to record conversations with their knowledge, but do not require them to tell the other party. This law is called a “one-party consent” statute.

Alabama law (Ala. Code,13A-11-30 (1) & 13A-11-31) states that it is illegal to record, or even to overhear, any conversation through “any device” without at least one person consenting to the recording who is engaged in the conversation.

Alaska (Alaska Stat., 42.20.310) has similar laws in effect and makes it a misdemeanor.

Arizona law (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann..13-3005 (A)(1) & (2)) makes it a class 5 felony to intercept a communication of which they are not a party, or to aid someone else in doing so.

Arkansas law (Ark. Code Ann.,5-80-120(a)) makes it illegal to intercept or record any conversation, whether oral, wire, or phone, unless the person recording is part of the conversation or has given permission.

Colorado law (Colo. Rev. Stat., 18-9-303(1) makes it a felony to record or intercept a phone or electronic communication without getting the consent of at least one person in the conversation. News media personnel may use approved tools and various equipment to investigate newsworthy events.

Delaware law (Del. Code. Ann. tit. 11, § 1335(a)(4) & 11,2402(c)(4)) has conflicting rules about whether it is legal or not to record another person’s conversation with or without consent of one party.

The District of Columbia’s laws (D.C. Code. Ann. 23-542(b)(3)) prevent anyone who pretends to be an agent of the law from intercepting an oral communication or wire.

Georgia law (Ga. Code Ann. 16-11-62 & 16-11-66(a)) makes it unlawful (a felony) to record a private conversation in a private place. Recording is allowed if one of the parties is knowledgeable or if one party has given consent.

Hawaii law (Haw. Rev. Stat.803-42(b)(3)(A)) says recording a conversation is legal if one person in the conversation knows about the recording or has given consent.

Idaho law (Idaho Code 18-6702(d)) says it is legal to intercept a communication as long as those involved have approved of it.

Indiana law (Ind. Code Ann. 35-33.5-1-5(2)) states that only the sender or receiver may record a conversation, or acquire the contents of it.

Iowa law (Iowa Code Ann.808B.2(2)(c)) says that a listener or sender of the information must be openly present and a participant of the conversation, but it does not require the other party to be aware of it.

Kansas law (Kan. Stat. Ann. 21-4002(a)(1)) prohibits eavesdropping in conversations without having obtained consent of the user of the device. The highest court in Kansas permits one-party consent, and it may not be challenged in court.

Kentucky law (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. 526.010 & 526.020) states that eavesdropping is illegal if a device of any type is used. It is considered a Class D felony.

Louisiana law (La. Rev. Stat. 15:1303(b)(4)) states that any conversation can be recorded as long as the individual is a party to it or if consent has been given.

Maine law (Ma. Rev. Stat. 15:1303(b)(4)) makes it a Class C crime to hear, record, or help another person to hear a wire of oral communication with the use of a device.

Minnesota law (Minn. Stat. Ann 626A.02 subd. 2(d)) makes it legal to record or intercept a communication as long as the person is a party in the conversation or has given consent.

Mississippi law (Miss. Code Ann. 41-29-531(e)) states that a communication cannot be intercepted or recorded unless they are a party in the conversation or has given consent.

Missouri law (Mo. Ann. Stat. 542.402(2)(3)) states that a party to the communication, or if they have given consent, can record it and disclose the contents.

Nebraska law (Neb. Rev. Stat. 86-290(2)(c)) says that consent must be given, or the individual recording it must be a party to the conversation.

Nevada generally has a one-party consent rule. The Supreme Court in the state has said that it is an all-party rule, meaning all parties of the conversation must give consent.

New Jersey law (N.J. Rev. Stat. §2A:156A-4(d)) makes it illegal to intercept any communication, with the exception that the person be a party in the conversation, or give consent.

New Mexico law (N.M. Stat. Ann 30-12-1(C) & (E)) states that it is necessary to obtain consent of the party involved, before interfering with the communication, which has been interpreted as consent to sending the information.

New York law (N.Y. Penal Law,250.00(1) & 250.05) says that it is illegal to wiretap without the consent of one person involved in the conversation. It also applies to cellphones.

North Carolina law (N.C.Gen Stat.15A-287(a)) says that it is a Class H felony to intercept communications without having the consent of at least one person involved in the communication. It is also illegal to hire someone else to do it.

North Dakota law (N.D. Gen Stat.15A-287(a)) states it is a Class C felony to intercept a communication without the consent of at least one of the party giving consent.

Ohio law (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 2933.52(B)(4)) says it is not a crime to record or intercept if one person involved in the conversation gives consent.

Oklahoma law (Okla.Stat. Ann.tit. 12.176.4(5) states that it is not a crime when consent has been given, or when the one recording it is involved in the conversation.

Oregon law (Or. Rev. Stat.165.543) says it is a Class A misdemeanor if consent by one party of the conversation does not give consent. The courts in Oregon, however, have said that all parties involved must know.

Rhode Island law (R.I. Gen. Laws 11-35-21(c)(3)) states that it is illegal to intercept or record a conversation unless one party provides consent.

South Carolina does not have a law about it, but says that a communication may be recorded if consent is given. Consent is not needed (18 U.S.C 2511 (2)(d))) for recording where no privacy can be expected.

South Dakota law (S.D. Codified Laws Ann. §23A-35A-20(1)) states that one person may record a conversation if they are present, and consent is not needed. Consent is not necessary for non-electronic communications where privacy may not be expected.

Tennessee law (Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-601(b)(5)) states that a person who is a party of the conversation can record a conversation, or if they have been given consent. A non-electronic conversation may be recorded if privacy cannot be expected.

Texas law (Tex. Penal Code Ann. §16.02(c)(4)(A)&(B)) states that recording may occur by anyone involved in the conversation or where consent has been granted by one person.

Utah law (Utah Code Ann. §§77-23a-4(7)(b)) says that a conversation can be recorded if it is done by someone in the conversation, or when consent is given by one participant. Consent is not required for oral communications where privacy cannot be expected.

Virginia law (Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-62.) states that a participant in a conversation may record it, or if one member of the party gives consent.

West Virginia law (W. Va. Code §62-1D-3(e)) says that recording is legal, or disclosing the information when they are a participant or have been given permission from one participant.

Wisconsin law (Wis. Stat Ann. §§968.31(c) &885.365(1)) states that a party in the conversation may record it, or when permission has been given by one party.

Wyoming law (Wyo. Stat. §7-3-702(b)(iv)) says it is legal for one member of the conversation to record, or when one party gives consent.

Vermont has no laws about it, but the highest court (18 U.S.C. 2511(2)(d) says that using electronic monitoring of conversations in someone’s home is an illegal invasion of privacy.

Audio Surveillance State by State Laws: All Parties Consent Statutes
There are 12 states in the U.S. where recording cannot be done without the consent of every member of the conversation. States that have this law are:

  • Michigan
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • Nevada
  • Washington
  • Audio Surveillance Cameras on Public Buses
    The question of permitting audio recording with cameras on public buses came about in 2009. The Maryland Transit Authority asked the state attorney general about the issue, and it quickly became public. Efforts were made to stop it, and it has not yet taken place, although cameras have been permitted for several years. Some say that it is needed for safety purposes, but it has not yet been seen how it could actually increase safety.

Basically it has been forbidden to have audio recording attached to a camera on a bus. There are different reasons being given for not doing it, but the matter has not yet been settled. So far, the state’s attorney has directed the company to not turn the audio recording devices on.


Revised: 4/15/14
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