Florida Video Surveillance Laws

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Video surveillance in Florida is a complex subject. The question, “Does an individual or business have the freedom or a requirement to make a recording with a security camera?” depends on context. Florida is a two-party consent state. Both parties who are being recorded must consent for the act of recording to be legal. Under Florida state law, a prosecutor may treat each recording as a separate offense.

Home Security Cameras

An individual is allowed to record their own home and property with home security cameras if city and county ordinances and their homeowner’s association permit such use. The individual should set up the camera properly, so it faces their property and does not record areas of their neighbors’ homes or yards. When one party in the home secretly records another person without their consent, the recorded person may have grounds to file a lawsuit for invasion of privacy.

Invasion of Privacy Tort

Florida Statute Section 934.10 allows an individual to file an invasion of privacy lawsuit against a person who makes a recording of them or their home. A person has a reasonable expectation of privacy in their daily affairs as well as in events at their home. The claim also allows the plaintiff to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and punitive damages. The amount of recovery is $100 for each day of violation or $1,000, whichever is higher.

Video Voyeurism Laws in Florida

Florida Statute Section 810.145 defines video voyeurism as intentionally using or installing an imaging device like a smartphone or home security camera to secretly view, broadcast or record a person without that person’s knowledge and consent. The recorded person is privately exposing the body in acts such as dressing and undressing at a place and time when they have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Places where a person could have a reasonable expectation of privacy include a changing or dressing room in a clothing store, the person’s bedroom, a bathroom or a backyard with adequate fencing or foliage that shields it from the view of passersby. The person making the recording may be doing so for their own amusement, entertainment, sexual arousal, gratification or profit or for the purpose of degrading or abusing another person.

Penalties for Voyeurism

Florida Statute Section 810.14 makes it a criminal offense to secretly observe another person when the other person is located in a dwelling, structure or conveyance and at a location where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The statute does not focus on video voyeurism or hidden cameras, but includes instances of recording in the term “observes.” A person who violates this statute commits a first degree misdemeanor for the first violation, punishable by jail up to one year and a fine up to $1,000.

A person who violates the statute and has been previously convicted or adjudicated delinquent two or more times of any violation of the statute commits a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years and a fine up to $5,000. A person is considered previously convicted or adjudicated delinquent of a violation of the statute if the violation resulted in a conviction that was sentenced separately or an adjudication of delinquency entered separately prior to the current offense.

Video Surveillance Systems in Public Places

Florida law allows a person to make a video recording of other people in a public place where the individuals would have no reasonable expectation of privacy. For example, a person could record other people at a beach or street festival. Schools, private property such as shopping malls, and entertainment-focused businesses such as sports arenas and theaters may restrict individuals from recording performances or people on their grounds. Some businesses and institutions allow recordings to a limited extent. An individual who seeks to profit from a recording they make on the premises of a business should get permission in writing from the business to make the recording and disseminate it for profit.

Video Surveillance Cameras at Businesses

A business such as a store or parking garage may post a visible notice that a camera system is installed on their grounds. The business is allowed to make a recording to protect themselves against theft. The business may make a video and/or audio recording outside or inside common areas on its property during regular business hours or after regular business hours. The business may record areas not usually open to the public or where it has posted “Private Property - No Trespassing” signs.

Local Ordinances on Recording Devices

Some Florida cities and counties have specific ordinances that require certain businesses to install security cameras. Orange County’s Municipal Ordinances Section 25-177 requires each convenience store to have a security camera system capable of retrieving an image to assist in the identification and apprehension of a criminal.

Volusia County’s Municipal Ordinances Section 26-36 goes further. This rule says all late-night businesses, stores or operations must have a concealed 35 mm film security camera or a security camera of a type and number approved by the sheriff. The camera must be in operation during all business hours. The security camera must be capable of producing a clear and retrievable image on film or tape that can be made a permanent record and can be enlarged through projection or other means.

The cameras and equipment must be maintained in proper working order at all times by the owner of the business. The cameras will be subject to periodic inspection by the sheriff. In the event that a crime occurs at the business, the sheriff’s office or appropriate police department must be contacted. The law enforcement office will be responsible for retrieval, care and custody of the security camera film.

Requirement to Maintain Video Cameras in the City of Palm Coast

The City of Palm Coast has an ordinance, Section 16-228, that requires a convenience business to be equipped with a security camera system capable of recording and retrieving an image to assist in offender identification and apprehension. Palm Coast also has another ordinance, Section 16-251, that requires operators of electronic game promotion establishments to maintain a security camera system. The system must be operating during business hours and capable of recording and retrieving an identifiable image.