Legally, videotaping is a complex matter, because it records both video and audio. Federal laws prohibit wiretapping and recording conversations without the consent of at least one or all parties is determined by the states. Twelve states require, under most circumstances, the consent of all parties to a conversation. Those states are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington, according to The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Video and Audio Taping
Federal law prohibits wiretapping of any kind, and law enforcement officers must obtain a warrant to initiate wiretapping. This affects reporters and individuals who record conversations as part of interviews, or private individuals recording a conversation. In some states, only one party needs to give consent, and in other states, such as Florida, all parties involved in the conversation must provide consent.
Because video records audio, this federal law comes into play. Persons using hidden cameras are especially vulnerable to the federal law.
Public and Private Settings
In general, you can videotape or photograph public areas such as parks, zoos, shopping malls, grocery stores, and street corners, but you cannot videotape or photograph private areas. You are not permitted to take pictures of areas that are usually considered private, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, changing rooms, locker rooms and hotel rooms, according to Lawyers.com. It is also illegal to videotape law enforcement officers in the course of their official duties.
Types of Consent
There are three legitimate types of consent you can obtain to legally videotape in the state of Florida and most other states: express consent, implied consent, and oral consent. Express consent is written permission given to the photographer by the subject. Implied consent is given when the subject responds to your videotaping by acknowledgment, such as waving at the video camera or posing for the shoot. Oral consent is when a subject verbally agrees to be videotaped. In all cases of consent, the subject must understand what it means to give consent.