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20 Oct 2012 10:13 UTCSat 20 Oct 2012 - 10:13 am UTC
Is it legal to video/audio record someone in the US (Florida) in a public place, without their knowledge?
20 Oct 2012 12:49 UTCSat 20 Oct 2012 - 12:49 pm UTC
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:
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.
20 Oct 2012 13:12 UTCSat 20 Oct 2012 - 1:12 pm UTC
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.
20 Oct 2012 15:09 UTCSat 20 Oct 2012 - 3:09 pm UTC
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?
20 Oct 2012 16:04 UTCSat 20 Oct 2012 - 4:04 pm UTC
C is recording. If asked, A and B would object to the recording.
20 Oct 2012 16:14 UTCSat 20 Oct 2012 - 4:14 pm UTC
A and B are discussing a business deal.
20 Oct 2012 16:18 UTCSat 20 Oct 2012 - 4:18 pm UTC
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:
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,
20 Oct 2012 16:25 UTCSat 20 Oct 2012 - 4:25 pm UTC
What if C is wearing a fake moustache?
20 Oct 2012 16:32 UTCSat 20 Oct 2012 - 4:32 pm UTC
A moustache alone might not do the trick, but add glasses and a cigar, and you can invoke the ironclad Groucho Marx defense.
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