Saratoga Springs, NY asked in Consumer Law, Communications Law and Constitutional Law for New York

Q: My hair stylist uses a camera w/audio in his hair salon. There is no notice. Is this legal in NY? I expect privacy?

The owner of my hair salon in NY uses a ring doorbell type camera in his salon. He claims it has the ability to zoom and has audio. He does not mention this to you and there is no posted notice. He only brings it up when you have an issue with your hair. He said "I only use it for liars and for confusion" and NOT FOR THEFT. I find this to be an invasion of privacy and I believe there is a reason expectation of privacy in a hair salon - personal care services. Are his activities involving the use of an undisclosed audio/video recording device legal in New York state?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In New York, it's generally legal to video record in public places where there's no reasonable expectation of privacy. However, the audio recording is more restrictive. Under New York Penal Law § 250.00, it's a "one-party consent" state, meaning at least one party in the conversation must consent to the audio recording. If neither party knows or consents, the audio recording could be illegal. The absence of notice or consent could create concerns regarding audio recording in a setting where private conversations occur.

Moreover, while public areas in businesses may not always carry a strong expectation of privacy, the specific circumstances in which the recordings occur, and their uses, can raise legal and ethical issues. If you believe your rights have been violated, you may want to consult with a local attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.

Carl Nelson agrees with this answer

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Little Neck, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: New York is a one-party consent state, meaning that at least one person must consent. In these types of settings, another issue that could arise is the matter of damages. Good luck

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