Using a body camera can be an excellent way to capture a lot of necessary evidence. It is important to consider that in some situations it is completely legal to use a body camera while in other situations it is not. Keeping all these aspects in mind allows you to avoid different legal problems.
Legal and Illegal Use of a Body Camera in Public
A body camera is considered the same as a standard smartphone camera or any other type of camera. The use of a body camera is the same as it is of any other camera before the law. In all those cases where it is legal to use a camera, it will also be legal to use a body camera. (1)
To further understand its use, please see how do body cameras work, an article detailing all the needed information about how this body camera works.
The most common is to consider the use of a common camera or a body camera on the public road. People who can use a smartphone camera on the street and in all kinds of similar public places will not encounter any inconvenience when using a body camera.
The difference is specifically in those places that are public but have their own rules. Some states have specific laws regarding privacy in certain spaces. A smartphone camera cannot be used inside a bank. The same thing applies when a person decides to use a body camera inside this same place.
One of the states that have imposed certain privacy laws in California. In California, a camera can only be used in the places enabled by law without requiring the consent of others. When a camera also records audio this means that the consent of others is required.
That is why video evidence that incorporates audio is not taken into account by the law due to this kind of prohibition. Where a smartphone camera can be used, a body camera can also be used.
Body Camera in a Store
Some people may choose to use a body camera inside a store or retail space. It is important to specifically consider the building owner’s policies or store policies.
Owners may choose to prohibit the use of all types of cameras. When common cameras are prohibited within these establishments the use of a body camera is also prohibited. Different commercial spaces such as a bank, a commercial store, a grocery store, or any other similar place should be considered.
Body Camera to Film Police Officers
Citizens living in any state in the United States have the right to film or photograph any police officer. This is guaranteed by the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. There are also some basics to consider when watching the police. (2)
No citizen should hinder the activities of a police officer or trespass on any private property. There are also some eavesdropping laws and state privacy laws. People using a body camera could be violating one of these laws by filming a police officer without his or her consent.
Justice protects citizens who claim to photograph or film police officers. This can serve as evidence. People must always take these actions by letting the police officers know that they are being filmed. Even police officers cannot confiscate smartphones or cameras.
Body Camera to Sign Someone
Those who do not have a reasonable and immediate expectation of their privacy on public streets may be filmed without their consent. Even a person who is in a public way in any kind of activity cannot expect total privacy. Filming such persons does not bring any harm.
Using a body camera can be very efficient when you need to obtain images on public roads. In privately owned places the use of the body camera could be illegal in some situations.
You should consider the different restrictions of some particular places to avoid doing illegal activity.
(1) smartphone camera – https://www.popsci.com/take-better-smartphone-photos/
(2) Amendment in the U.S. Constitution – http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/education/all_amendments_usconst.htm