Are you thinking about installing a video surveillance system in Pennsylvania? Then you should take a few minutes to review the security camera laws in Pennsylvania. The “Keystone State,” known for its industries and amazing cities like Philadephia and Pittsburgh, allows residents to use video surveillance.
In the United States, residential as well as commercial security camera laws and regulations vary by state, so it’s worth reviewing the specifics in your state before installing a video surveillance system. In this article, we will review some of the most frequently asked questions regarding security camera laws in Pennsylvania:
Security Camera Laws in Pennsylvania FAQs:
- Are security cameras legal in Pennsylvania?
- Is Pennsylvania a one-party consent state recording?
- Can tenants install security cameras in PA?
- What are Pennsylvania’s workplace video surveillance laws?
- Are hidden cameras legal in Pennsylvania?
Are security cameras legal in Pennsylvania?
Video surveillance is legal in Pennsylvania. However, there are specific guidelines and regulations that users must be aware of to avoid legal challenges. When installing security cameras, homeowners and property managers should consider the following:
- The Pennsylvania Wiretap Law makes it illegal to record any electronically transmitted conversation.
- Most legal trouble can be easily avoided by avoiding audio recordings and posting proper signage.
- Under Pennsylvania law, it is a felony to record an oral or telephone communication without the consent of all parties. Offenders are also subject to civil liability as per PA Cons Stat § 5703, § 5704 (definition & penalty), § 5725, § 5747 (civil damages)
Security camera regulations in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has some of the harshest security camera regulations in the country. Even law enforcement organizations face restrictions regarding video surveillance in numerous cases without previous court clearance.
Failure to comply with Pennsylvania’s wiretap statute is a third-degree crime resulting in prison time. Pennsylvania is a two-party consent state, which means that when recording audio-video clips, you must notify everyone involved. Otherwise, you are risking legal challenges, bad publicity, or worse.
Is Pennsylvania a one-party consent state recording?
Pennsylvania is not a one-party state. Instead, Pennsylvania is one of only twelve that enforces the “two-party consent” law. This means that when operating video surveillance, especially if audio recordings are being conducted, both parties to a private conversation need to be aware of, and consent to, the recording of that conversation.
Security cameras in Philadelphia
Security cameras are used for various purposes, including traffic surveillance and crime prevention. In addition, cities are adding surveillance cameras into their security system, thanks to higher resolutions, remote access to live video streams and technology like facial recognition. For example, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has 28,064 cameras for a population of 1,584,064 people, or 17.72 cameras per 1,000 persons, as of 2022.
Security cameras monitoring transportation in Philly
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has over 28,000 surveillance cameras monitoring bus, rapid transit, commuter rail, light rail, and electric trolleybus services for nearly 4 million people in five counties in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Can tenants install security cameras in PA?
Tenants in Pennsylvania are generally permitted to install cameras as long as they do not cause any damage. In addition, Pennsylvania laws and regulations allow tenants to utilize their apartment’s exterior and general areas as long as they are not violating their neighbor’s privacy or damaging property.
Apartment building security cameras
While an individual security camera will strengthen your apartment’s security, a better solution is a building-wide network security system that deters crime. For example, in Pennsylvania, landlords can install a video surveillance system to monitor entrances and parking lots to increase the property’s overall security.
What are Pennsylvania’s workplace video surveillance laws?
In Pennsylvania, it is legal for employers to install video cameras in the workplace, provided that the surveillance is not in spaces where employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Most workplace video camera restrictions apply to private areas such as restrooms, break rooms, and other places where employees reasonably expect privacy.
Are hidden cameras legal in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania has no law that makes it a criminal offense to place a hidden video surveillance camera on private property. However, the issue of hidden cameras is complicated, and the same regulations that apply for residential cameras are not necessarily the same for commercial or public spaces.
Audio security cameras
Pennsylvania’s Wiretap Law makes it illegal to record private conversations without the consent of all parties to the discussion. In general, regardless of the setting, since it is a criminal offense to record audio without the permission of the person being recorded, it is best to avoid audio recordings at all times.
In Pennsylvania, surveillance cameras are increasingly being employed to monitor residential and commercial properties. Whether you want to use a camera to monitor your business or install integrated security systems to protect your property, there are rules you should be aware of before putting them in place.
After familiarizing yourself with Pennsylvania’s security camera guidelines, you may decide to set up your own enterprise security camera system. This may not be easy, depending on the size of your system and the depth of your particular requirements. Hiring a professional security camera installer is usually a better option because it ensures that all video systems are compliant and configured for the best performance.