Can I get a CCTV system with sound?


Can I get a CCTV system with sound?    

Ask any man or woman on the street which is more personal to them: Their image or their voice – chances are that most people will choose their image. Few people have a problem with help lines recording their phone calls in order to provide better customer service, but many people have a problem with their image being used or videotaped without their consent.

Yet if one stops to think about the content of one’s actions versus the content on one’s speech, it is apparent that it is through voice alone that all of that we hold personal gets shared. Our hopes, our dreams, our likes, our dislikes, our goals and our gripes – these are all expressed by words and not by actions, and that is why while CCTV cameras are allowed to record your actions while on someone’s private property, there are often laws in place preventing them from recording your speech.

General Functionality – Can CCTV Cameras Record Sound?

Not all CCTV cameras have audio recording functionality, but there are still many cameras that are equipped with internal microphones (or areas to connect external microphones) that can be purchased for a nominal cost, if at all. Many cameras have both audio and non-audio options. Audio works in the same way as video – sent through the wires and saved onto a DVR or other recording device.

Can You Record Sound With Your CCTV System?

According to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, audio recordings of private conversations are legal as long as one of the members of the party gives consent. The second member does not have to be notified of the first member’s consent. This means that you can record any of your conversations without telling the other individual, as you are providing your own consent. In addition, anyone else can record your conversation provided you give them permission to do so.

Beyond the Federal Law, there are also state laws to consider. 13 states have their own unique audio laws beyond that of the federal law, and these can differ considerably from state to state. However, most revolve around the assumption of privacy. If you are using a CCTV system inside your store, and you post signs that say both audio and video may be recorded, then the presumption of privacy is no longer applicable. In some states these types of laws may even apply within your own home, so you may not be able to record audio even within your own house.

Yet because each state may have different laws, be wary before recording audio with your CCTV camera. Check with your state’s laws first (and check with a lawyer) and be sure that a video only CCTV camera will not suffice to meet your needs.  If you record audio that, according to your state’s law, you do not have the right to record, you may find yourself in some serious legal trouble and, in almost every case, the audio that you may have used to try to prosecute an intruder will be thrown out.


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