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ANSWERED on Sat 20 Oct 2012 - 12:49 pm UTC by davidsarokin

Question: Recording

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Sat 20 Oct 2012 - 10:13 am UTC

Question

montecristo
Customer

Is it legal to video/audio record someone in the US (Florida) in a public place, without their knowledge?

 
 

Sat 20 Oct 2012 - 12:49 pm UTC

Uclue Researcher Answer

David Sarokin
Researcher

montecristo,

The answer to your question is very situation-specific, depending on both the nature of the recording, and what you do with it afterwards.

Florida is a "two consent" state, which means that, in general, both parties must consent to a recording in situations where there is an expectation of privacy, such as in their homes. It's not always clear what "expectations" apply in a public setting, however.

Here's a good and current overview of Florida recording and privacy law, intended for reporters who are always recording folks in public:

http://www.rcfp.org/reporters-recording-guide/state-state-guide/florida

As you know, Uclue doesn't offer legal advice, but if you want clarification of any of the language at the above link, just let me know, and I'll see what I can do.

David

 
 

Sat 20 Oct 2012 - 1:12 pm UTC

Request for clarification

montecristo
Customer

Say it's two people talking at Starbucks. Do they have a reasonable expectation of privacy?

PS It probably doesn't matter much, but actually the state I want is Louisiana, not Florida. I thought I knew where New Orleans was, but I must have been confusing it with Orlando.

 

Sat 20 Oct 2012 - 2:59 pm UTC

Comment

If you are recording someone without their knowledge in a public or semi-public place like a street or restaurant, the person whom you're recording may or may not have "an objectively reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or overhearing the conversation," and the reasonableness of the expectation would depend on the particular factual circumstances.  Therefore, you cannot necessarily assume that you are in the clear simply because you are in a public place.

http://www.citmedialaw.org/book/export/html/1246

 

Sat 20 Oct 2012 - 3:09 pm UTC

Uclue Researcher Answer clarification

David Sarokin
Researcher

In your scenario, as A and B are talking in a Starbucks in New Orleans, is it one of them (A or B) doing the recording?

Or is a third party, C, secretly recording A and B's conversation?

 

Sat 20 Oct 2012 - 4:04 pm UTC

Request for clarification

montecristo
Customer

C is recording. If asked, A and B would object to the recording.

 

Sat 20 Oct 2012 - 4:14 pm UTC

Request for clarification

montecristo
Customer

A and B are discussing a business deal.

 

Sat 20 Oct 2012 - 4:18 pm UTC

Uclue Researcher Answer clarification

David Sarokin
Researcher

Louisiana is a one-consent state. In general, at least one person needs to give consent for a private conversation to be recorded. The distinction between a "private" and not-private conversation is often not clear, especially in a Starbucks-type of scenario.

In my non-professional judgement, if A or B decided to press charges or file a lawsuit, I think the courts would be likely to hear (rather than dismiss as unwarranted) their complaint.

The actual decision, though, would be hard to predict.

Here's some more detail about laws in Louisiana that directly address your question:

http://www.rcfp.org/reporters-recording-guide/state-state-guide/louisiana

especially this excerpt:

"...In-person conversations: A person cannot overhear or tape a private conversation to which that person is not openly present and participating or listening, unless consent to record is given by at least one of the parties to the conversation..."

Hope that's helpful,

David

 

Sat 20 Oct 2012 - 4:25 pm UTC

Request for clarification

montecristo
Customer

What if C is wearing a fake moustache?

 

Sat 20 Oct 2012 - 4:32 pm UTC

Uclue Researcher Answer clarification

David Sarokin
Researcher

A moustache alone might not do the trick, but add glasses and a cigar, and you can invoke the ironclad Groucho Marx defense.

 

Sat 20 Oct 2012 - 4:51 pm UTC

Comment

myoarin
User

If C is wearing a false moustache, it would seem that he is "not openly ... listening", since he is trying to conceal his identity and would, therefore, have to secure consent, which A and B would refuse.

 

Sat 20 Oct 2012 - 8:38 pm UTC

Accepted and rated

montecristo
Customer

 

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