I do not consent.
November 23, 2011 3:32 PM   Subscribe

Legalities being of video with audio recorded by a student.

I work at a college. I am a faculty department chair. A student where I work had a complaint about another employee. When I arrived on the scene the student was talking to one of my department╩╗s faculty. The student had her cell phone camera pointed at this faculty member and was recording the conversation. When I arrived, the student pointed the camera at me and said, "I am recording this. I am going to post it on YouTube."

I did not give my consent to be recorded. In my state video recording without two-party consent is generally legal, but audio recording is not.

Basically, there is nothing embarrassing that can be put up on YouTube, since I just politely listened to her rant and did not say anything. Then I walked away and called the administration.

What are my legal rights in this? I am wondering about it. This is the first time this happened, but I have a feeling it is not the last.
posted by fifilaru to Law & Government (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Call your university's office of legal counsel. They will be able to help you.
posted by elizeh at 3:54 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

if audio recording is not, then you can have him charged with wire tapping
posted by udon at 4:36 PM on November 23, 2011

I am no lawyer, but wiretapping usually implies breaching an expectation of privacy. IE, the person doing the recording is doing it surreptitiously.

The recent stories where the police have claimed wiretapping as a reason why they shouldn't be recorded have not, as I understand them, worked through the courts yet.

Did you say "I do not consent to this"? That may have bearing. (But I'm not sure- it isn't like the news people turn their cameras off when some surprised perp says "get that camera out of my face".)
posted by gjc at 4:45 PM on November 23, 2011

If you didn't consent and you're in a two-party consent state, she's out of line. This is a really lame move on the part of the student. I'd alert whatever entity protects your rights as a faculty member and let them take it from there.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:02 PM on November 23, 2011

The other faculty member had apparently consented, so I think your recourse -- especially since you sat silent throughout your time there -- was to leave the room. She probably shouldn't have pointed the camera at you, but by your own words it sounds more like no-harm-no-foul. I wouldn't fault her for wanting to record interactions in the scope of a complaint.
posted by rhizome at 5:19 PM on November 23, 2011

I'm a bit suspicious of the video/audio distinction you seem to be drawing. I can't comment on your state's law in particular, as 1) I don't know what it is, and 2) that would be legal advice, but that just strikes me as fishy. Generally, video recording includes audio. I can see there being different rules for audio-only v. full audio-visual recording, but I can't think of a situation where there would be different laws for a video and its own audio track.

if audio recording is not, then you can have him charged with wire tapping

Unlikely. Private citizens are, generally speaking, incapable of violating anyone's constitutional rights, especially in areas that don't involve discrimination. Further, taping someone without their consent, even in states where that isn't permitted, is usually a civil wrong rather than a criminal one.
posted by valkyryn at 6:31 PM on November 23, 2011

She may be able to argue some form of tacit consent as you had the opportunity to object and knew it was happening, but did not object.

But, the best piece of advice so far is the first piece of advice, seek out someone who actually has knowledge in this area, in your state, and ask them
posted by edgeways at 7:50 PM on November 23, 2011

I doubt you can have her charged with a crime, and such a reaction would be incredibly draconian and unhelpful. If the video is on Youtube for real, you can probably have themremove it.

But yeah, consult the legal department.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:21 PM on November 23, 2011

Generally, video recording includes audio.

Yes, this is the common-sense answer, but audio recording was prohibited before video recording on a wide scale existed, leading to un-common-sensical legal situations in some states. In multiple situations I've read about, a voyeur was allowed to be prosecuted due to having recorded (illegal) audio along with (legal) video.
posted by dhartung at 9:22 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

More a practical side, and you may have already thought of this, but something I thought I'd note: I went looking this stuff up awhile ago and various websites online have lists of what just is and isn't a one-party/two-party consent state, and a lot of them are incorrect (or must be since they're not the same) and few of them are cited. So, yeah. Talking to a professional is a good idea.
posted by gracedissolved at 10:39 PM on November 23, 2011

State by State Compliance
posted by udon at 6:48 AM on November 24, 2011

You'll probably get the best information if you consult the appropriate local people. The ones that come to mind are your school's general counsel (because they're the lawyers), External Relations/Communications (there may be a school policy on videorecording), and Student Affairs/Academic Affairs (because this is an issue of a student having conflict with faculty or staff, which would seem to be their area).
posted by Lexica at 10:00 AM on November 26, 2011

« Older What fictional holidays can we celebrate this year...   |   Christmas without a tree Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.