Audio Surveillance – Beginner’s Guide

Audio Surveillance is an option to consider when purchasing a surveillance system and can be a great tool in legal disputes. However, there are a few laws, locally and nationally, to consider when purchasing a surveillance system with an audio option. Laws aside, a microphone can allow business owners and operators a significant tool to keep their business, employees, and customers safe. But what are the law for audio surveillance? Can you have audio capability anywhere you want? Can you use it with your current system?  And how do you know if you need an audio option?

We do urge that you consult your local government for audio surveillance details in your area.

Audio Surveillance Laws And Regulation

When we are discussing audio surveillance, we are talking about a surveillance camera with a microphone built in or an external microphone attached to a surveillance system. These types of systems have a few laws to help protect an individual or group of individuals’ privacy.

Audio surveillance laws vary from state to state but all have the same basic guidelines to follow. Depending on your state, if you wish to record a person to person conversation, you will need the consent of either one or all parties involved in the communication. Most states allow recording with the consent of one party but states like California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington require the consent of all party members included in the conversation.

These laws apply to private areas where the parties involved expect privacy. These include, but not limited to, bathrooms, changing rooms, bedrooms, and closets. Public places such as, retail stores, restaurants, or shopping malls allow the freedom to record audio without consent. With these two extremes, there is a question of office buildings or spaces and if it is legal to record audio with employee conversations with each other or with customers. This again depends on the state where you would like to record that audio. For prevent liability, having employees sign a consent form stating that they are under recorded and video surveillance could help prevent any issues. If you reside in a state where a consent form is required of all parties involved, legally you are not allowed to record a person to person conversation between an employee and customer. Recording that conversation could be dismissed in court, depending on the state the recording took place.

Audio Capability

There are many ways to install audio to your surveillance system. Whether or not you are working with an existing surveillance system, or thinking about purchasing a new system, there are a couple ways to add audio. A lot of surveillance systems today have cameras with built in audio options. These cameras can range from 1 megapixel to even 3 or 5 megapixel cameras. If you already have a surveillance system and want to add audio, you can find a compatible mic to attach to your surveillance system or create an audio system that just collects the audio separate from the video of your surveillance system. Depending on your network speeds and bandwidth, some people prefer the separate microphone option.

Do You Need Audio Surveillance

Audio surveillance, comes with a lot of perks, one being to have a recording of an incident in question and being able to get the full story without relying on someone else’s word over another. If you are looking to add audio to your home, just keep in mind the security risks if someone were able to hack into your surveillance system. This is always the risk with any form of technology.  If you are wanting to add audio to a business, you should consider two variables, the type of business and your employees. Certain businesses should not have audio to protect customers and employees. A bank or doctors office may want to think more on audio capability to protect their customer’s personal information. Businesses with verbal deals and communications, for example, a car dealership, can benefit from audio surveillance.

You also want to keep in mind of your employees. Is it in their best interest to keep them on constant audio surveillance? Will your employees be comfortable with audio surveillance? If an audio application is best fit for you and your employee’s needs and security, each employee should sign a consent form showing they are aware of the audio device and its purpose.

Closing Thoughts

Audio surveillance is a great tool for many applications and can be very useful for business owners and managers. Audio surveillance and video surveillance allows business owners and managers the capability to understand and observe an incident or series of incidents without any outside information from the parties involved. A video surveillance system alone is a great investment for any size business, but adding audio can increase your investments value.

For more surveillance needs please visit Camera Security Now and check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

***The information provided in this blog post  is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.***

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