Ilion, NY asked in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law and Communications Law for New York

Q: Can a hotel/restaurant place audio recording devices in their establishment?

The cameras are connected to another employees phone and said person listens to other people’s conversations that are not in regards to the business. Also no signs are posted that audio is being used. The cameras are used to eavesdrop.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In New York, it is illegal to record or eavesdrop on an in-person or telephone conversation unless at least one party to the conversation consents. This law applies to private establishments like hotels and restaurants as well.

According to New York Penal Law 250.05, "A person is guilty of eavesdropping when he unlawfully engages in wiretapping, mechanical overhearing of a conversation, or intercepting or accessing of an electronic communication." This is a class E felony.

If the hotel or restaurant is using cameras to secretly record audio of conversations without the consent of at least one party, they are likely violating this law. The lack of signage informing guests and patrons that audio recording is taking place further suggests that this activity is unlawful.

It's also worth noting that while video surveillance in public areas of the establishment is generally legal, the use of hidden cameras in private areas like hotel rooms or restrooms would violate privacy laws.

If you believe your conversations have been illegally recorded, you may want to consult with a lawyer to discuss your options and potentially file a complaint with local law enforcement or the New York Attorney General's office.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.