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Are Security Cameras Allowed to Record Audio?

Last updated on September 21st, 2020

When you would like to set up security cameras around your property, business, or home, you need to understand the basic rules for managing these cameras. Using cameras is perfectly legal as you survey the area, and you should use them to protect yourself.

You must, however, have an understanding of what you can do with these cameras outside of turning them on, stopping any theft on your property, and deterring intruders. A popular question is “can security cameras record audio?” You need to know the implications of trying to record audio.

Is It Legal To Record Audio On Security Cameras?

It is illegal to record audio on a security camera. A security camera is used to record visual images, and they can be helpful if you are trying to capture information about intruders or thieves. You can use security cameras to catch people who are stealing from your business, and your security camera video can be used to catch an unknown thief.

Bounds Of The Law

You can store these images in the cloud if you have an advanced security system, and you can review these images at any time. You should make sure that you know if it is legal to use security cameras in your state.

can security cameras record audio

Sometimes you may need a professional to install the cameras around your property, or you might need a professional to get a special permit for the cameras.

When you register your security cameras with the city or county, you are working with law enforcement to protect your company.

They know you have cameras, and you are working within the bounds of the law. This is something that you might have seen around other businesses have posted signs around their properties telling people that they are on camera.

Type Of Zoning Permit

However, you cannot record audio with your security cameras. Security cameras around your business should not record conversations between employees or customers.

This is illegal under federal law, and you should not do this. This is something that can get much more complicated if audio recording is not allowed in your state.

can security cameras record audio

You must be aware of the type of zoning permit you have for your property, and you also need to be aware of what that permit allows you to do.

For example, a business that is zoned for commercial work might be different from a business that is zoned for retail work.

Ask your lawyer if you need to make changes to your security program based on how your property is zoned.

You may be allowed to record audio in the state with proper consent or notification. For example, you may need to post a sign in your business that says you are recording audio and video. If you are unsure of what to do, you should speak to your lawyer or someone who works in local code enforcement.

Recording Audio Around Your Home

can security cameras record audioWhen you are recording audio around your home, you need to be sure that you cannot hear your neighbors.

You never want your neighbors to think that you are recording them, and you should make sure that you keep your recordings private.

If you get a permit, you need to make sure that the microphones are not pointed at your neighbors.

Government Building Or a Healthcare Facility

You may also have an issue if you are near a government building or a healthcare facility. Healthcare and medical information are protected by HIPAA.

can security cameras record audio

When you have cameras that record audio, you could be in violation of HIPAA. You may have recorded privileged information, and you might not even have a permit for the cameras.

When you are recording audio in your state illegally, the problem can get even worse if you are transmitting the audio over wifi.

This could be considered a cybercrime, and you do not want to be cited for something that was a simple mistake.

You also do not want to be caught in a situation where an employee sues you for illegal surveillance. Your company could be fined, you could lose the lawsuit, and you might become a poster child for illegal surveillance.

Consider How These Cameras Are Designed

You also need to consider how these cameras are designed. If you can offer proper notification and receive consent from your employees to use audio surveillance, you may not want to spend the money needed to install a security camera that records audio.

You will spend quite a lot of money for a camera that has a microphone attached, and you may have issues if these cameras are outside.

Potential Security Сamera Problems

Your security cameras could break down because the microphones are clogged with water or dust. The cameras could be damaged by rain, or wind could obscure the sound input you get from the camera.

can security cameras record audioYour facility might be so loud that you cannot hear anything on the camera, or the cameras might use so much bandwidth that you need to invest in a better Internet provider.

When you upgrade your Internet provider, you will spend a lot of money for faster speeds. You may even need to work with your ISP to install new cables around your facility.

This is something that can be very complex, expensive, and disruptive. You do not want to lose work time during the day, and you do not want to spend more money than you have for security.

Conclusion

You should ask yourself “can security cameras record audio” because you need to know if you can legally record audio in your facility or outside your home. You should work with a lawyer, make sure that you provide notification or gain consent from your employees.

Also you need to know that you have the appropriate cameras for your facility if you are allowed to record audio. However, you should remember that recording audio is against federal law.

Speak to your lawyer to ensure that you can record legally, that you are safe when doing so, and that you have the appropriate cameras. You can get permits for the security cameras if you need them, and you can even register them with your local law enforcement agency.

 

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