Doorbell Cam Laws and Can I Legally Record A Conversation In Connecticut?
We have all seen the creepy ring cam pics of weirdos in masks staring into the lens of these micro surveillance cameras and it makes me wonder about the laws surrounding the use of home surveillance equipment. The ring cam is just one of many that are available out there on the market, but how far can you go to keep your property protected from predators?
First, when it comes to security cameras like ring, according to Recording Law in Connecticut, it is illegal to...
Maliciously photograph, film or record images of another person without the consent or knowledge of the person being recorded:
* When the person is not in plain view
* While the person is inside a dwelling.
* In situations where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
* With the intention of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of such person or any other person.
They also give the perfect example and almost one of the exact questions I have heard people ask about security cameras and the proximity of the neighbors:
If you have a security camera, you are not allowed to point it at your neighbor’s backyard or living room window because these are areas where he or she has a reasonable expectation of privacy. It is also illegal to record a person’s intimate parts without the consent and knowledge of that person and also while such intimate parts are not in plain view. Conn. Gen. Stat. 53a-189a
Just because you want to protect your own property, you are not allowed to point the camera at someone else's property, especially at a window of any kind. Having a ring camera or some other door device like this is not a bad idea at all, especially if you have kids as was evident in a YouTube video I uncovered about disturbing doorbell camera footage. Also, this past July, the Norwalk Police Department had some ring.com footage of a "porch pirate" that they posted on Facebook to help identify him.
Another legal question we had was about conversation recording and we go back to our friends at Recording Law for help. Connecticut is considered both a "one party state and two party state." Why is this? They tell us that different laws are on the books for in-person and telephone conversations. The law says that at least one party's consent is required to record any in-person conversation, if you don't it is considered eavesdropping. So, that tells me that you can secretly record a conversation that you are involved in, not a conversation you are not when it comes to in-person conversations.
The telephone is a different story...
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-570d(a) Connecticut recognizes civil actions concerning illegal recording of private telephonic communications. Under this law, a telephone conversation is recorded illegally if the following conditions are not met:
Consent of all parties involved in the communication is obtained in writing before the recording is done or as part of the recording at the start of the recording.
Recording includes verbal notification which is recorded at the beginning of recording and is part of the communication.
Use of automatic tone warning device during the recording.
If you are a third party, you require consent from the people involved and the FCC requires this to get the consent:
Getting verbal or written consent prior to the recording being made.
A verbal notification being played before the conversation begins. (For example: “This phone call is being recorded for quality control purposes…”).
An audible beep tone being repeated at steady intervals during the duration of the conversation.
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