Privacy Law

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors. It differs from broadcast television in that the signal is not openly transmitted, though it may employ point-to-point wireless links. CCTV is often used for surveillance in areas that may need monitoring such as banks, casinos, airports, military installations, and convenience stores.

In industrial plants, CCTV equipment may be used to observe parts of a process from a central control room, when, for example, the environment is not suitable for humans. CCTV systems may operate continuously or only as required to monitor a particular event.

A more advanced form of CCTV, utilizing Digital Video Recorders (DVRs), provides recording for possibly many years, with a variety of quality and performance options and extra features (such as motion-detection and email alerts).

Surveillance of the public using CCTV is particularly common in the UK, where there are reportedly more cameras per person than in any other country in the world. There and elsewhere, its increasing use has triggered a debate about security versus privacy.

CCTV Security Camera / CCTV Surveillance Camera Laws

You must check your state and locals laws for what is legal in your area regardless of what is posted on this site. References here are exactly that, it is up to you to contact your local authorities, and abide by the rules in your area.

Hidden Camera Laws

The laws of 13 states expressly prohibit the unauthorized installation or use of cameras in private places.

In Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Utah, installation or use of any device for photographing, observing or overhearing events or sounds in a private place without permission of the people photographed or observed is against the law.

A private place is one where a person may reasonably expect to be safe from unauthorized surveillance. Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Utah also prohibit trespassing on private property to conduct surveillance of people there.

In most of these states, unauthorized installation or use of hidden cameras is a felony, punishable by a $2000 fine and up to 2 years in prison.

Twenty-four states do have specific hidden camera laws. Also, some states have laws REQUIRING a notice or posting that there is surveillance equipment. Once a sign is posted that surveillance is going on, you could say that people talking near the sign are consenting to that recording.

Several states have laws prohibiting the use of hidden cameras in only certain circumstances, such as in locker rooms or restrooms, or for the purpose of viewing a person in a state of partial or full nudity.

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse says that the law concerning recording of conversations is not settled yet, because the technology is so new, there is a patchwork of federal, state, and local laws governing the manufacture, sale, transport, and use of video and audio recording devices. The patchwork is complex because the federal laws don't pre-empt the local ones. So your local jurisdiction could make a law more stringent than the federal one, or the state one.

Each jurisdiction is so different that any answers I could offer would risk liability  for us and for you. And, unfortunately ignorance of the law is no excuse.

You can find The Center for Social & Legal Research website for privacy issues at:

Case Studies

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