Breakdown of Audio and Video Recording Laws

How can you be sure if it’s okay to record video or audio in certain circumstances? There are myriad laws that cover the video and audio recording of third parties. They differ by state as well as in the use of video versus audio. Here’s the breakdown:


Most video recordings are legal with or without consent.

There are very few laws that prohibit video recording of any kind, but there are laws in some areas dealing with areas of expected privacy. These include areas such as bathrooms, locker rooms, changing/dressing rooms, adult bedrooms, and other areas where a person should expect a high level of personal privacy.

The majority of the laws dealing with video recording privacy issues tend to allow surreptitious recording and monitoring of video activity under most circumstances without notification of any of the parties involved.

So far, the courts have allowed video recordings of nannies, elder-care employees, and other types of video recordings made with covert cameras without the subjects’ consent.


Most audio recordings without consent of one or all parties are illegal.

Recording audio is very different from video; there are definite federal and state laws prohibiting surreptitious recording and monitoring of audio conversations. These laws are taken very seriously by authorities and failure to abide by them could result in severe consequences.

There are two types of defined recording situations ...

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