It may seem like a good idea for a person to set up cameras in his yard for security purposes. Another person may want to use cameras throughout her home, which she rents on Airbnb, to ensure her guests aren’t stealing any valuables. Even though these people have good intentions, if they live in Georgia, they could be breaking the Georgia law on video surveillance.
Georgia has laws that prohibit individuals from recording others at certain times. If people are thinking of installing cameras in their homes or business, they need to know the legalities before they could possibly get into trouble.
Georgia Laws on Video Surveillance
The Georgia laws on video surveillance can be found in Title 16, Chapter 11, Article 3 of the state law code for Georgia. They state that it’s illegal to record or photograph anyone in a private place that’s out of public view without their consent. A private place out of public view could include a private area of a home or business, like a bathroom, or someone’s own home.
The latter would apply, for instance, if a neighbor puts up camera in his yard and one of them looks into the house of his neighbor. That would be illegal.
It’s completely legal to install security cameras on a property in Georgia, but homeowners must be mindful not to point them onto the neighbors’ property. If a big bush, a tree or some other object obstructs the view of the cameras, then the cameras are indeed legal.
Recording at Work
Another place where people are often recorded is at work. Employers in Georgia can legally record their employees as long as they have a legitimate business reason for doing so, such as their security. The law states that the reason for the surveillance must outweigh the importance of an employee’s privacy.
For instance, an employer could legally record the front of a store where the merchandise is, but they may get into trouble for placing a hidden camera in a break room. This is because it may not serve a purpose other than to listen in on employees’ conversations. In this case, the employer should let the employees know there are hidden cameras by posting signs.
Eavesdropping Laws in Georgia
Georgia has wiretapping laws that are important to know if someone is going to record another party through any device and not disclose it. Eavesdropping laws in Georgia can be found in Georgia Codes 16-11-62 and 16-11-66 and state that it’s unlawful to record people in specific situations if there is no consent. This could include hitting the record button on a smartphone and recording two peoples’ private conversation in a private place. Eavesdropping laws in Georgia also applying to intercepting people’s mail or phone or telegraph messages and trespassing onto private property to record.
There is an exception to the recording rule. If Person A calls Person B and records the conversation without Person B’s consent, then that is completely legal. Georgia has a one-party consent law, which means that only one party has to know about the recording. This also would apply if Person A met up with Person B and hit the record button on her phone secretly to get the conversation on tape.
In terms of phone calls, the law varies from state to state, so it could end up being illegal if a person in Georgia calls a person in another state where there is no one-party consent law. If an individual wants to record a public hearing, it’s legal to do so, as long as she has filed a written request with the judge that is in the courtroom.
- Law Offices of Russell H. Hippe: Voice and Video Recordings under Georgia law
- FindLaw: Georgia Code Title 16. Crimes and Offenses
- Ackerman Security: Do You Have an Illegal Residential Security Camera Setup? Georgia’s State Legal Code Weighs In
- Jamie G. Miller Law: Surveillance at Work
- Chanco Schiffer P.C.: Georgia's Video Recording Laws
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