Where In Texas Are Hidden Camaras Legally Allowed?
It seems to be a fact of modern life. We all assume we're on camera whenever we're in a public place. It is almost as if George Orwell's vision of the future portrayed in his classic novel "1984" has come true.
In Texas, hidden cameras, and video recording without sound is usually ok. The only time it is not is if the person being recorded has a reasonable expectation of privacy, the taping is done for some illegal purpose, or there was trespass to record the video.
Sometimes, when entering a business, we see signs that alert workers or customers that they are under surveillance. This is NOT required by law in Texas. In fact, no state in the country requires business owners to install signage that alerts workers or customers that they are under surveillance.
Of course, this is as long as the camera is in a public place. When you see a sign, that usually is done as a deterrent to theft and vandalism.
If you are a renter, you are legally permitted to install cameras in your apartment. You can even put them on the exterior of your building, so long as you do not cause structural damage.
In the workplace, video surveillance cameras are allowed. Employers have no obligation under Texas law to obtain employees' consent. Of course, there is an absolute ban on installing surveillance devices in bathrooms, changing rooms, and similar private spaces, where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
If your neighbor points a camera at your property, there's probably nothing you can do about it, unless, it is recording areas inside your home where you would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. If your neighbor is using a camera to film over your privacy fence, then this is probably a violation. One would have a reasonable expectation of privacy in a fenced-in backyard.
A judge may interpret it differently.
Here is another thing to keep in mind about surveillance cameras here in Texas. It is a crime to install surveillance cameras without a license issued by the Texas Private Security Bureau, a Division of The Texas Department of Public Safety.
Qualified agents must pass two exams: the technical exam and the Texas code exam.
In any event, if you feel that a camera is invading your privacy, you can always consult an attorney. Generally, it is a battle you will not win, unless "a reasonable expectation of privacy is being violated.
It looks like Big Brother is winning.