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Can security cameras legally record audio?

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When people see security cameras around they often if it can do more. Like do they record audio? Security cameras do record audios and many people know that.  Recording audio can, in fact, be useful to business owners and sometimes in homes. However, is recording audio legal? That is the most important question.

I have carried out a lot of research online and even among security firms. From the research, I have gathered a lot of useful knowledge on security cameras and the audio feature. This article contains just a summary of what I found and am sure it would be useful to you who are wondering about the legality of recording audios.

Can security cameras legally record audio?

The law

If you are thinking of adding audio recording to your video surveillance or buying a security camera with the audio recording, you must first consider what the law says. The privacy laws of countries vary and that makes it important for one to go through. The fact that security cameras are everywhere means that at one time or the other the privacy laws are broken. For you who are thinking of audio recording make sure you are on the right side of the law.

Audio recording is sometimes legal and sometimes it not. The different reasons for recording are always iffy but the rules are strict and clear on recording leave alone audio recording. For instance, do you know that recording your staff without their consent is illegal? It may be natural for an employer or a homeowner to consider video recording for security purposes. However, sometimes recording can go to the extent that it becomes an invasion of privacy.

Consider this scenario you have surveillance cameras in your home that record audio. Then you have guests and they are unaware that your camera records everything they say, and everything they do at a given time. In such a case, you are not only being rude to your guests but you may be breaking the law and their privacy.

It is therefore imperative to know the basic laws concerning privacy and video surveillance

  • It is illegal to record sound on video surveillance
  • Wi-FI recording may make you a cyber-criminal,
  • Audio surveillance rules depend on the state

The above three are the basic principles that may apply to several places. On the sound recording, human rights dictate that recording human conversations is not right since it is an act of invading people’s privacy. In the workplace, for instance, an employer can only record videos without sound. Moreover, the notion of recording conversations is different in every state and nation. Each state also has different punishments for breaking privacy laws. For the case of Wi-Fi recording, it a bit challenging and one must consider finding information about Wi-Fi recording instead of thinking the internet is above the law. Most of the times the law catches up with people and they find themselves in big trouble because of ignorance.


Whether it is audio recording or video recording, consent is an important factor. In the workplace, the employees should always be notified that they are being recorded. They must also be given a chance to consent to have their audio conversations recorded. In certain spaces where privacy is not limited such as an office, the conversation cannot be recorded and consent is only allowed under special circumstances such as in criminal investigations. Moreover sometimes recorded audios might be useful in legal cases but It is only limited to circumstances where it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a need for recording. Audios can sometimes be recorded in the public sphere without consent. In a park or even in the streets the audios can be picked up because there is limited –privacy expectations in such places.

Using notices

In places where an audio recording is taking place, the use of notices is enough to warn the public. In such places, consent is assumed because by the notice being there it means people are well aware of audio recording. Therefore, if you do not want to be recorded you can simply leave the premises.

What can you do?

Here we will look at two situations: one is a situation where you are being recorded and the other is where you are considering audio recording in your surveillance system.

If you are an employee and you discover you are under audio surveillance, you can take certain steps to ensure the surveillance stops. The first step would be communicating with your employer about audio surveillance. Make sure the employer knows the law s concerning privacy and audio surveillance. If your e employer does not comply with your consultation then you can take legal action since you have the right to protect your privacy.

In the case that you want to consider adding audio surveillance to your security system, you may as well consider following the legal steps. In-home surveillance, it may not be illegal to install security cameras. Sometimes Audio surveillance is used at home to monitor babies and that is legal. It is only illegal in case of visitors where it would be necessary to switch off the audio recording. In the workplace always, consider seeking legal counsels even when it is just your office being under surveillance. Using a notice or using a camera that indicates audio is being recorded may be used in certain situations as it warns people not to hold their private conversations. In interview sessions, audio recording maybe legal but still requires third-party consent.  

The bottom line is the use of surveillance cameras can sometimes go overboard and invade personal privacy. To stay on the right lane seek professional counsel before considering audio recording. In case you are being recorded, ask why and review the privacy laws. You have every right to protect your privacy. Lucky for you Qsee has all the answers to the questions you are asking. To add to that, our company also has the best video and audio surveillance cameras for all your security needs.


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