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Is It Illegal for CCTV Systems to Record Audio?

Is It Illegal for CCTV Systems to Record Audio?

It's a fact of modern life: you are being recorded by video cameras every time you set foot outside of your own home. Security cameras are everywhere. Every store, restaurant, parking lot, and playground has security cameras. Practically every private residence has at least one security camera recording everyone who sets foot on the property.

Can security cameras record audio as well as images?

The previous generations of security cameras just recorded images. Modern security cameras can record audio as well as images. Even tiny, hidden cameras can record audio. However, their built-in microphones can only point in one direction and can only pick up audio within three to four feet of the camera.

It is easy to add a special directional microphone to a security camera. When outfitted with a directional microphone, a high-quality camera, such as the 4 MP 4x IR Outdoor Network PTZ Camera, can pick up crisp, clear audio from as far as 500 feet away. This means your neighbor might be able to record conversations you have inside your house. The security camera at the park can listen in to your family picnic, and the camera at the bar can record your pick-up lines.

Is it legal for security cameras to record audio?

In general, it is not legal to record audio unless all parties being recorded agree ahead of time. This varies a bit by state; California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington all forbid secretly recording audio in both public and private spaces.

In your own home, if everyone who legally enters your home agrees, you can record audio with your CCTV system. It may give you great peace of mind to record the maid, babysitter, and dogwalker, and keep track of what the contractors are doing while they remodel your kitchen. If you have audio installed, you can hear a thief breaking into your garage.

Is it necessary to post signs warning everyone there are security cameras?

In general, on private property, it is not necessary to post warning signs. Many people do post warning signs in an effort to scare bad people into going away. If the location being surveyed is a place where privacy is reasonably expected, such as a bathroom or changing room, you do have to post signs stating the area is being watched by a camera.

Balancing the law and your personal and business security needs can be complicated. JCOMM has the expertise you need to install a high-quality, fully legal security system that combines both audio and images. Why not contact JCOMM today to discuss your security needs?

By JCOMM 1-10-2023