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Subject: Audio survelience in the pool area
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AprilB3
(South Carolina)

Posts:3


06/21/2021 11:27 AM  
I recently found out that my HOA will listen to your conversations while at the pool, in the elevator and on the breezeway. I know of atleast 2 people that can monitor the cameras from their phones. I was never given notice that the cameras have audio and there are no signs stating such. Are they allowed to audio record in the "public" spaces on the private property, including in the elevator where there should be an expectation of privacy?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


06/21/2021 11:30 AM  
My initial blush is as the areas you mentioned are common areas, thus recording sight/sound is legal especially if a sign saying it it happening is posted.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


06/21/2021 11:33 AM  
Posted By AprilB3 on 06/21/2021 11:27 AM
I recently found out that my HOA will listen to your conversations while at the pool, in the elevator and on the breezeway. I know of atleast 2 people that can monitor the cameras from their phones. I was never given notice that the cameras have audio and there are no signs stating such. Are they allowed to audio record in the "public" spaces on the private property, including in the elevator where there should be an expectation of privacy?

Did you google on this? If so, what did you find?

Try googling with the following keywords:

audio recording in south carolina permission
AprilB3
(South Carolina)

Posts:3


06/21/2021 11:37 AM  
There may be one sign in one of the parking lots saying video but not audio.
AprilB3
(South Carolina)

Posts:3


06/21/2021 11:59 AM  
I have googled at legnth and it's clear as mud..... It says that one party to the conversation is all it takes to give consent. Neither myself nor my friend knew that the HOA was listening to our conversation. It was a very personal conversation that we had with lowered voices. I have seen no signs posted stating that audio is being monitored. And wouldn't the elevator have an elevator have an expectation of privacy after the doors are closed?
AugustinD


Posts:1920


06/21/2021 12:34 PM  
Posted By AprilB3 on 06/21/2021 11:59 AM
I have googled [yada]... It says that one party to the conversation is all it takes to give consent. Neither myself nor my friend knew that the HOA was listening to our conversation.
Hence the COA/HOA is breaking the law. I am also reviewing https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t17c030.php and so far, I still think the HOA/COA is breaking the law. Double check me.

A bit more guidance from https://legalbeagle.com/8571352-laws-recording-consent-south-carolina.html:

It is still possible to lawfully obtain a recording of a conversation to which one is not a party. Such third parties must obtain consent. According to the Federal Communications Commission, legally sufficient consent may take one of three forms, which should also be sufficient at the state level when attempting to prove consent:

Obtain a verbal or written statement acknowledging consent from each party to the conversation before the conversation is recorded.

Automatically playing a spoken alert that the conversation will be recorded, such as, “For quality control purposes, this telephone call may be recorded.”

Play a tone or beep at consistent intervals throughout the conversation.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1108


06/21/2021 1:46 PM  
In most, if not all, states it is illegal to record audio of any conversation you are not a part of. Apparently, in SC there is an exception if there is no expectation of privacy. I think if two people are having a conversation with no one around, there would be a reasonable expectation of privacy even in a public setting. I think your board should consult with an attorney before continuing this practice.
https://recordinglaw.com/united-states-recording-laws/one-party-consent-states/south-carolina-recording-laws/
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2599


06/21/2021 7:15 PM  
Posted By BenA2 on 06/21/2021 1:46 PM
In most, if not all, states it is illegal to record audio of any conversation you are not a part of. Apparently, in SC there is an exception if there is no expectation of privacy. I think if two people are having a conversation with no one around, there would be a reasonable expectation of privacy even in a public setting. I think your board should consult with an attorney before continuing this practice.
https://recordinglaw.com/united-states-recording-laws/one-party-consent-states/south-carolina-recording-laws/



I'm not sure I agree.

For what it's worth, our attorney said that we should have no expectation of privacy when in common areas, even if there isn't any obvious surveillance going on. Just because you can stop the association from recording anything doesn't mean your neighbors are abiding by the same rules.

I personally have no expectation of privacy at all when I'm outside of my outside of my home, rightly or wrongly. Any random person you pass likely has a smart phone/tablet which can act as a wifi hotspot or be used to record anything and everything. If you truly want privacy, it will have to be inside your home, and only if you've kept out any "smart" devices, disabled the microphone and camera on your computer, evicted Alexa, etc. etc. I don't even trust my car. I think the privacy horse has well and truly left the barn.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1108


06/21/2021 7:44 PM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 06/21/2021 7:15 PM
Posted By BenA2 on 06/21/2021 1:46 PM
In most, if not all, states it is illegal to record audio of any conversation you are not a part of. Apparently, in SC there is an exception if there is no expectation of privacy. I think if two people are having a conversation with no one around, there would be a reasonable expectation of privacy even in a public setting. I think your board should consult with an attorney before continuing this practice.
https://recordinglaw.com/united-states-recording-laws/one-party-consent-states/south-carolina-recording-laws/



I'm not sure I agree.

For what it's worth, our attorney said that we should have no expectation of privacy when in common areas, even if there isn't any obvious surveillance going on. Just because you can stop the association from recording anything doesn't mean your neighbors are abiding by the same rules.

I personally have no expectation of privacy at all when I'm outside of my outside of my home, rightly or wrongly. Any random person you pass likely has a smart phone/tablet which can act as a wifi hotspot or be used to record anything and everything. If you truly want privacy, it will have to be inside your home, and only if you've kept out any "smart" devices, disabled the microphone and camera on your computer, evicted Alexa, etc. etc. I don't even trust my car. I think the privacy horse has well and truly left the barn.



Was your attorney referring to audio or video surveillance? In most states the two have completely different rules. What the rule is in any particular state will probably come down to court precedents.

In most states the common law "reasonable man doctrine" is used to determine such questions. Would the average reasonable person have an expectation of privacy? I think most people having a conversation in a public place with no one around would expect it to be private. Of course if their was a sign stating there is audio on the camera would change things.

My experience is with criminal law but the rules in civil law would be the same.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1806


06/22/2021 7:54 AM  
This is straight creepy and intrusive. An HOA has no business eavesdropping via audio-only in the name of "security." I guarantee you that not one resident is made safer because the board members can listen to conversation.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


06/22/2021 8:32 AM  
Posted By BenA2 on 06/21/2021 7:44 PM
In most states the common law "reasonable [person] doctrine" is used to determine such questions. Would the average reasonable person have an expectation of privacy? I think most people having a conversation in a public place with no one around would expect it to be private. Of course if their was a sign stating there is audio on the camera would change things.

My experience is with criminal law but the rules in civil law would be the same.
A few observations for the inquiring minds among the hoatalk membership:

-- I do wonder whether a statement in, say, the HOA/COA's rules and regulations that xyz common area is under surveillance amounts to consent by members in those areas to have their conversations recorded.


-- The commentary on the net on this subject for South Carolina appears to reference the South Carolina Criminal code. The interested reader may wish to peruse S.C. Code §§ 17-30-15, 17-30-30.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


06/22/2021 8:58 AM  
Posted By KellyM3 on 06/22/2021 7:54 AM
This is straight creepy and intrusive. An HOA has no business eavesdropping via audio-only in the name of "security." I guarantee you that not one resident is made safer because the board members can listen to conversation.



I agree on the audio only is not proper in an associations common areas. I do believe video is allowed especially if notice is posted. Easy enough in a high rise. Simply post a sign one can see as they walk in. In other configurations more, signage (pool, clubhouse, etc.) would be needed.

I went into a chain restaurant recently and at the fornt door was a sign:

Video recording equipment in use for employee training and the safety of our guests.

I have no issues with this.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2599


06/22/2021 9:00 AM  
I agree with the general commentary about the current state of the law about this stuff.

But as I mentioned several posts back, I think current laws are likely to be out of date given the increasing prevalence of surveillance and privacy intrusions.

Yes, the HOA in question should get pushback from homeowners, if for no other reason than the nincompoops may get themselves sued over it.

But individuals are still best able to protect themselves by assuming that nothing is private unless they personally have taken steps to ensure that it is: no devices in the vicinity that can connect to any other devices, for example, and that includes cell phones. If people cannot guarantee such a thing, then it's smart to assume that any conversation you're having will be available for scrutiny by persons unknown. I don't like it, but that's the world we live in right now.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


06/22/2021 9:02 AM  
Posted By AprilB3 on 06/21/2021 11:27 AM
I recently found out that my HOA will listen to your conversations while at the pool, in the elevator and on the breezeway. I know of atleast 2 people that can monitor the cameras from their phones. I was never given notice that the cameras have audio and there are no signs stating such.
The net says that most security cameras do not have audio, precisely because of the likelihood of breaking laws that prohibit the recording of oral conversations without at least one participant's consent.

AprilB3, are you sure these surveillance cameras have audio? Could your HOA's rumor mill in fact be grinding out grist that is false?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


06/22/2021 12:58 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 06/22/2021 9:02 AM
Posted By AprilB3 on 06/21/2021 11:27 AM
I recently found out that my HOA will listen to your conversations while at the pool, in the elevator and on the breezeway. I know of atleast 2 people that can monitor the cameras from their phones. I was never given notice that the cameras have audio and there are no signs stating such.
The net says that most security cameras do not have audio, precisely because of the likelihood of breaking laws that prohibit the recording of oral conversations without at least one participant's consent.

AprilB3, are you sure these surveillance cameras have audio? Could your HOA's rumor mill in fact be grinding out grist that is false?



Good question.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


06/22/2021 12:58 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 06/22/2021 9:02 AM
Posted By AprilB3 on 06/21/2021 11:27 AM
I recently found out that my HOA will listen to your conversations while at the pool, in the elevator and on the breezeway. I know of atleast 2 people that can monitor the cameras from their phones. I was never given notice that the cameras have audio and there are no signs stating such.
The net says that most security cameras do not have audio, precisely because of the likelihood of breaking laws that prohibit the recording of oral conversations without at least one participant's consent.

AprilB3, are you sure these surveillance cameras have audio? Could your HOA's rumor mill in fact be grinding out grist that is false?



Good question.
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