video and audio surveillance - Legal?


My dialysis clinic is in the process of placing video and audio surveillance cameras in various areas, including in patient areas and in our MD / Fellows office and where we see our home patients for clinic on a monthly basis. Is this legal? The clinic is in Chicago IL. We have had no discussion or notice that informs us of how it will be used and who has access to the monitoring. The only comment being "Now I can watch you from home." This was instituted due to theft, but we are a small company and everyone already knows the thief.

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traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

165 Articles; 21,209 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

Hmmm - I am in IL too and it would be nice to have security cameras - right now we have an armed police officer in the building after 5pm and I don't live anywhere near Chicago.

As long as it doesn't compromise pt privacy I don't see why its objectionable.


171 Posts

Specializes in Oncology, Palliative Care. Has 4 years experience.

I thought audio surveillance was against the law everywhere...?

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Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,329 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.
I thought audio surveillance was against the law everywhere...?
Each state is a little different. Some are okay as long as one of the parties has consented. Others require consent from all parties. If the clinic posts a sign on the door stating they have surveillance, they're probably covered because by entering the facility, one would be giving consent.


6 Posts



6 Posts

Thanks, I will do some research.


32 Posts

I know video surveillance is legal,, however here in mass voice recording is not

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

Video recordings are not general.....they are illegal in areas where the assumption of privacy is present like batherooms, changing rooms and locker rooms....without permission.

This is a general guideline.

Most states and the federal government restrict "voice recordings". "You" are free to videotape anywhere the human eye can see, with the exception of areas that are deemed to have an "expectation of privacy" such as the bathroom and the nanny's/nurses private bedroom(live in). Many camera come without sound to prevent you from accidentally recording conversation.

The general rule is "you must have permission to record conversation, some states require consent of both parties (Calif) while other states require only the permission of one of the parties to the taping voices/conversations.

It is however, legal in all 50 states to use a hidden camera. However, it is ,illegal to record speech without a person's consent in the following 16 states: Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, New Jersey Pennyslvania,California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, and Washington

Some General Guidelines on video surveillance

In general, most video recordings are legal in the U.S. with or without consent. Laws do exist regarding "Invasion of Privacy" which deals with the area of expected privacy. These include areas such as bathrooms, locker rooms, changing/dressing rooms, bedrooms and other areas where a person should expect a high level of personal privacy.

While the majority of laws dealing with video recording privacy issues tend to allow surreptitious recording and monitoring of video activity under most circumstances without notification of any of the parties involved, it is highly recommended that you consult with your local or state law enforcement or an attorney who specializes in this area to comply with all local and regulations prior to utilization of video surveillance and monitoring.

Hidden Camera Laws

The laws of 13 states expressly prohibit the unauthorized installation or use of cameras in
private places
. A private place is one where a person may reasonably expect to be safe from unauthorized surveillance, locker rooms, restrooms etc. Several states have laws prohibiting the use of hidden cameras in only certain circumstances, such as in locker rooms or restrooms, or for the purpose of viewing a person in a state of partial or full nudity.

Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Utah also prohibit trespassing on private property to conduct surveillance of people there.

In Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Utah, installation or use of any device for photographing, observing or overhearing events or sounds in a private place without permission of the people photographed or observed is against the law.

Covert video surveillance is illegal when:

The subject has a reasonable expectation of privacy (4th Amendment rights) i.e. in a bathroom; motel room; changing room

If audio eavesdropping is also taking place, covert surveillance may be illegal when:

The person with authority over the premises has not consented

The reason for the video surveillance fosters an illegal purpose

CCTV Surveillance camera Laws



6 Posts

Thanks very much, very helpful. I will let you know if any signs are posted or any patients are informed.