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Hidden cameras

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  • Alabama

    Intentionally engaging in secret observation — for the purpose of spying on someone, with or without recording or taking photographs — while trespassing on private property is considered unlawful “criminal surveillance.” Ala. Code § 13A-11-32.

    The law, however, does not criminalize the use of any such recording devices positioned in areas to which the public has access (e.g., filming conversations on public streets or a hotel lobby).

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  • Alaska

    The state hidden camera law applies only to images — whether film or photograph, in print or electronic — that include nudity. A person who views or produces a picture of a nude or partially nude person without consent commits the crime of “indecent viewing or production of a picture.” Alaska Stat. Ann. § 11.61.123.

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  • Arizona

    It is unlawful for an individual to photograph, videotape or secretly view a person without consent while the person is in a restroom, locker room, bathroom or bedroom or is undressed or involved in sexual activity, unless the surveillance is for security purposes and notice is posted. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-3019.

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  • Arkansas

    The state’s video voyeurism law prohibits the use of any camera or “image recording device” to secretly view or videotape a person in any place where that person “is in a private area out of public view, has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and has not consented to the observation.” Ark. Code Ann. § 5-16-101.

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  • California

    The state’s disorderly conduct law prohibits the use of “a concealed camcorder, motion picture camera, or photographic camera of any type” to secretly record a person while in a rest room, dressing room, tanning booth or while in any area where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Cal. Penal Code § 647(j)(3).

    Courts have found that hidden cameras that record sound can also be used as recording devices in violation of the state’s eavesdropping law, but appellate courts disagree as to whether that law can be violated when the camera does not record sound. See People v. Gibbons, 215 Cal. App. 3d 1204 (Cal. Ct. App. 1989) (finding that the eavesdropping law also protects physical communication, such as sexual intercourse, regardless of whether sound was recorded); People v. Drennan, 84 Cal. App. 4th 1349 (Cal. Ct. App. 2000) (holding that the eavesdropping law protects only sound-based or symbol-based communication, and thus video recordings without sound do not violate the law).

    Additionally, California’s so-called “anti-paparazzi” law prohibits trespassing with the intent of capturing photographic images or sound recordings of people in “private, personal, or familial activity.” Cal. Civil Code § 1708.8. Using a device to capture such photos or recordings — that would have otherwise required a trespass — is prohibited as well. Id.

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  • Colorado

    The state prohibits under its privacy laws anyone from knowingly observing or taking any visual images of another person’s body without consent in situations where the subject of the filming or photography has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-7-801.

    Individuals also have the right to record “any incident involving” a police officer in Colorado, regardless of consent. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 16-3-311. The police officer generally may not seize the recording or recording device without the individual’s consent, without a search warrant or subpoena, or unless it is done in certain emergency circumstances to save a life or prevent the destruction of the recording while a warrant is obtained. Id.

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  • Connecticut

    The state’s voyeurism law prohibits knowingly photographing, filming or recording in any way another person’s image without consent where the person is unaware of the filming, not in plain view, and has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-189a.

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  • Delaware

    The state’s privacy statute prohibits installing a camera or other recording device “in any private place, without consent of the person or persons entitled to privacy there.” Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1335(a)(2).

    The law also bars the use of hidden cameras to record individuals dressing or undressing in a private place. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1335(a)(6).

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  • District of Columbia

    The District’s voyeurism law prohibits stationing oneself in a “hidden observation post” or installing any electronic device to secretly record another person using a restroom, undressing, or engaging in sexual activity. D.C. Code § 22-3531.

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  • Florida

    The state’s video voyeurism laws prohibit the installation of any imaging devices “to secretly view, broadcast, or record a person, without that person’s knowledge and consent” in circumstances where the person is privately exposing the body in an area where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, including bathrooms and fitting rooms. Fla. Stat. § 810.145.

    The law also bans secretly videotaping underneath or through clothing without the subject’s consent. Id.

    These prohibitions, however, only apply to recordings made for the person’s “amusement, entertainment, sexual arousal, gratification, or profit, or for the purpose of degrading or abusing another person,” and therefore presumably should not apply to recordings made strictly for newsgathering. Fla. Stat. § 810.145; see Parkerson v. State, 163 So. 3d 683, 690 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2015).

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  • Georgia

    Georgia prohibits the use of a camera “without the consent of all persons observed, to observe, photograph, or record the activities of another which occur in any private place and out of public view.” Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-62(2). A private place is defined as one in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-60(3).

    The Georgia Supreme Court has explained that the all-parties consent requirement for video recording in private places applies to images, while the statute’s one-party consent requirement applies to sound. State v. Cohen, 807 S.E.2d 861 (Ga. 2017).

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  • Hawaii

    Under the state’s privacy law, it is illegal to install or use a surveillance device in a private place or elsewhere that records events in the private place without the person’s consent. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 711-1110.9, -1111. It is a felony when the recording involves a person in a “stage of undress or sexual activity,” and a misdemeanor when it does not. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 711-1110.9, -1111.

    Secretly taking images of another underneath their clothing while in public is a misdemeanor. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 711-1111(1)(f).

    A person can also be charged with a misdemeanor sexual assault for trespassing on private property to secretly observe somebody for the purpose of sexual gratification. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 707-733(c).

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  • Idaho

    The state’s video voyeurism law prohibits the installation of any devices capable of recording, storing or transmitting visual images to secretly view, broadcast or record a person, without that person’s knowledge and consent in an area where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-6609(2). This statute only applies, however, when the person records “with the intent of arousing, appealing to or gratifying the lust or passions or sexual desires of such person or another person, or for his own or another person’s lascivious entertainment or satisfaction of prurient interest.” Id.

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  • Illinois

    A person cannot videotape, photograph, film or transmit live video of “another person without that person’s consent in a restroom, tanning bed, tanning salon, locker room, changing room, or hotel bedroom,” or in their residence without their consent. 720 Ill. Compiled Stat. 5/26-4. The statute, however, exempts video recording in a locker room by a reporter who has received permission from “an appropriate authority” to conduct interviews there. 720 Ill. Compiled Stat. 5/26-4(b)(3).

    The law also prohibits the concealed photography and video recordings of an individual’s body either under or through that person’s clothing without that person’s knowledge or consent. 720 Ill. Compiled Stat. 5/26-4(a-10).

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  • Indiana

    Under Indiana’s surveillance law, it is a misdemeanor for one to place a camera or other equipment that records “images or data of any kind while unattended on the private property of another person” without that person’s consent. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-46-8.5-1.

    The state’s video voyeurism law makes it a felony to secretly record images—either still or video—inside the dwelling of another person or inside areas where occupants might be expected to disrobe, such as restrooms and dressing rooms, without the occupants’ consent. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-45-4-5(c). Additionally, the voyeurism law makes it a misdemeanor to record images of the private bodily areas of a person without consent. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-45-4-5(d).

    The voyeurism law also prohibits the use of drones to secretly record images or audio of people in their residences or on the land around their residences if they are in a location not visible by the public. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-45-4-5(g).

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  • Iowa

    The state’s privacy law makes it an aggravated misdemeanor to secretly view, photograph or film a person who is either fully or partially nude without consent, so long as that subject has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Iowa Code Ann. § 709.21. The statute only applies, however, if it was done “for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person.” Id.

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  • Kansas

    It is a felony to install or use a hidden camera to film or photograph a person who is nude or in a state of undress without the person’s consent in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation such filming would not take place. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6101(a)(6).

    The law also prohibits the concealed photography and video recordings of an individual’s body either under or through that person’s clothing without that person’s knowledge or consent. Id.

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  • Kentucky

    It is a misdemeanor under the state’s voyeurism law to use a hidden camera or any image-recording device to view, photograph or film a person who is nude or performing sexual conduct without the person’s consent in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation such filming would not take place. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 531.090.

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  • Louisiana

    The state’s video voyeurism law bars the use of any type of hidden camera — including cameras attached to a drone — to observe, photograph or record a person where that person has not consented if the recording “is for a lewd or lascivious purpose,” or if the person is nude or performing sexual conduct. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:283.

    The law, however, not be construed to affect the rights of any news-gathering organization.” Id.

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  • Maine

    The state’s privacy law makes it a crime to install or use a recording device in areas where one may reasonably expect to be safe from photo, video or audio surveillance, “including, but not limited to, changing or dressing rooms, bathrooms and similar places.” Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17-A, § 511. The law also prohibits the concealed visual surveillance in public areas of an individual’s body either under or through that person’s clothing without that person’s knowledge or consent. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17-A, § 511(1)(D).

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  • Maryland

    It is a misdemeanor to use a hidden camera in a bathroom or dressing room in a retail store without the occupants’ consent. Md. Crim. Law § 3-901. The law also prohibits using a camera on private property to secretly record or observe those inside a private residence. Md. Crim. Law § 3-903.

    Maryland also bans a person from using a hidden camera to observe or record people in a place where they could be reasonably expected to disrobe, or to observe or record the private body parts of an individual who would reasonable expect that they would not be visible to the public. Md. Crim. Law § 3-902. This prohibition, however, does not apply to recordings done without prurient interests “by or for the print or broadcast media.” Id.

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  • Massachusetts

    A person cannot photograph, film or use any electronic device to secretly view another person in the nude without consent in areas where the subject would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272, § 105(b).

    The law also prohibits the secret photographing, filming or using a device to view a person’s intimate body parts either under or around the person’s clothing or when the person would reasonably expect it not to be visible by the public. Id.

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  • Michigan

    It is a felony to install or use a device to observe, photograph, record sounds or images, or eavesdrop on a person in a private place where one may reasonably expect to be safe from surveillance or intrusion without the person’s consent. Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.539d. Filming on public streets and parks, for instance, would not subject a person to liability under this law. Neither would recording in an area where access is granted to a substantial portion of the public, such as a hotel lobby. See definition of “private place,” Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.539a.

    The state also prohibits the surveillance, photography or recording of individuals who are naked or dressed only in their undergarments under circumstances in which the person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.539j.

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  • Minnesota

    The state’s privacy law prohibits trespassing on private property to secretly install or use any type of device for “observing, photographing, recording, amplifying, or broadcasting sounds or events” through the window of another person’s home. Minn. Stat. § 609.746.

    Additionally, the statute bans someone from secretly installing or using any type of device for “observing, photographing, recording, amplifying, or broadcasting sounds or events” through the window of a hotel room, tanning booth or any location where a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy and either has undressed or will likely expose some part of the naked body. Id.

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  • Mississippi

    The state prohibits secretly photographing, filming or reproducing images of another person “with lewd, licentious or indecent intent” without that person’s consent while in a fitting room, locker room, restroom, tanning booth, bedroom or other area where the person would be expected intend to undressed and have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Miss. Code Ann. § 97-29-63.

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  • Missouri

    It is a misdemeanor to photograph or record a fully or partially nude person in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and to use a hidden camera, regardless of whether a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, to “up-skirt” or “down-blouse,” or secretly photograph or record that person under or through his or her clothing. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 565.252.

    The offense becomes a felony if more than one person is photographed or recorded in such a way or if the person who illegally creates the image also discloses the image. Id.

    The law, however, does not criminalize the use of recording devices for other purposes in areas to which the public has access or there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g., filming conversations on public streets or a hotel lobby).

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  • Montana

    It is a misdemeanor to surreptitiously photograph or film any occupant of a home, apartment or other residence. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-223(1). The law also prohibits the secret photography or recording of parts of the naked body when the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-223(2).

    The law, however, does not criminalize the use of recording devices in areas to which the public has access or there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g., filming conversations on public streets or a hotel lobby).

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  • Nebraska

    It is a felony to secretly photograph or otherwise record the image of a person “in a state of undress” in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-311.08. It is also a felony to secretly photograph or otherwise record the image of a person’s intimate body parts when the individual would not expect to be exposed to the public, regardless of whether it is in a public or private place. Id.

    The law, however, does not criminalize the use of recording devices for other purposes in areas to which the public has access or there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g., filming conversations on public streets or a hotel lobby).

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  • Nevada

    It is a misdemeanor to photograph or film the private body parts of a person in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy; to use a hidden camera, regardless of whether a person is in a public or private place, to “up-skirt” or “down-blouse,” or secretly photograph or film that person under or through his or her clothing; and to disclose any images obtained by these means. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 200.604.

    The law, however, does not criminalize the use of recording devices for other purposes in areas to which the public has access or there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g., filming conversations on public streets or a hotel lobby).

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  • New Hampshire

    It is a misdemeanor to install or use any device to: 1) photograph or record images or sounds in a place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy; 2) “up-skirt” or “down-blouse,” or secretly photograph or record a person, regardless of whether the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, under or through his or her clothing; and 3) photograph or record “images, location, movement, or sounds” from outside a place in which there is a reasonable expectation of privacy if it would not ordinarily be audible or visible from outside the place without the device. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 644:9.

    The law, however, does not criminalize the use of recording devices for other purposes in areas in which there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g., filming conversations on public streets or a hotel lobby). The state Supreme Court found that a classroom was not a private place where a school custodian could reasonably expect to be safe from video surveillance. New Hampshire v. McLellan, 744 A.2d 611 (N.H. 1999).

    Further, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which includes New Hampshire, has found a First Amendment right to film police officers performing their duties in public, such as during traffic stops. Gericke v. Begin, 753 F.3d 1, 7 (1st Cir. 2014).

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  • New Jersey

    It is a crime of the third degree to photograph or record a person’s “intimate parts,” someone engaged in a sexual act or a person’s “undergarment-clad intimate parts” in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and to disclose any images obtained by these means. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:14-9.

    The law, however, does not criminalize the use of recording devices for other purposes in areas to which the public has access or there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g., filming conversations on public streets or a hotel lobby).

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  • New York

    It is a felony to surreptitiously photograph or record (i) “the sexual or other intimate parts” of a person or (ii) a person dressing or undressing in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, if the recording is done for amusement, entertainment, profit or sexual gratification. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 250.45(1), (2). The law also prohibits the use of an image-capturing device in a bedroom, restroom, hotel room, changing or fitting room, if done for “no legitimate purpose.” N.Y. Penal Law §§ 250.45(3).

    New York also makes it a felony to use a hidden camera, regardless of whether a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, to “up-skirt” or “down-blouse,” or secretly photograph or record that person under or through his or her clothing. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.45(4).

    Finally, it is a felony to surreptitiously photograph or record — for amusement, entertainment, profit, or sexual gratification — an identifiable person engaging in sexual conduct in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.45(5). The hidden camera law considers a person to have a reasonable expectation of privacy if, at the time and place of the recording, a person would reasonably believe that he or she could fully disrobe in private. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.40.

    The law, however, does not criminalize the use of recording devices for other purposes in areas to which the public has access or there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g., filming conversations on public streets or a hotel lobby).

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  • North Dakota

    It is a misdemeanor to enter another person’s property to photograph or record “sounds or events” — either from a residence or a place where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy — and the occupant has exposed or is likely to expose his or her “intimate parts.” N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-20-12.2. The law, however, does not criminalize the use of recording devices for other purposes in areas to which the public has access or there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g., filming conversations on public streets or in a hotel lobby).

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  • Pennsylvania

    It is a misdemeanor (i) to photograph or record — without the subject’s consent — a fully or partially nude person in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy; (ii) to use a hidden camera to secretly photograph or film a person’s “intimate parts” that the person does not intend to be visible to the public, whether or not covered by clothing; and (iii) to transmit any images obtained by these means. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 7507.1.

    The law, however, does not criminalize the use of recording devices for other purposes in areas to which the public has access or there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g., filming conversations on public streets or a hotel lobby).

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  • South Carolina

    It is unlawful to photograph or record another person without his or her knowledge or consent for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire where the person photographed or recorded has a reasonable expectation of privacy. S.C. Code § 16-17-470.

    It is also a misdemeanor to eavesdrop or be a “peeping tom on or about the premises of another” or to employ the use of audio or video equipment to “spy on or invade the privacy of others.” S.C. Code § 16-17-470. However, this does not apply to “any bona fide news gathering activities.” Id. For example, the South Carolina Court of Appeals found the “peeping tom” law inapplicable to the conduct of newspaper reporters attempting to listen to city council proceedings during a closed executive session because the reporters were on public property — not the premises of another — and did nothing “to enable them to overhear what was going on in the executive session other than to wait in the place provided as a waiting room for reporters and other members of the public.” Herald Publishing Co., Inc. v. Barnwell, 351 S.E.2d 878, 883 (S.C. Ct. App. 1986).

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