CanI record audio with a ring doorbell on a shared front porch?

I have installed a ring doorbell that records video/audio on a shared front porch for security reasons only. My neighbor, who is extremely volatile and combative, is threatening legal action because she feels it’s an intrusion of her privacy. I live in a 2 party consent state but it’s not a private area. It’s a shared area with neighbors’ yards/porches literally a few feet apart from ours on a cul-de-sac. Therefore, her expectation of privacy is absolutely not there. It is in full public view so anyone in nearby homes can hear anything from my porch; we’re that close. Does the lack of an expectation of privacy exempt me from having legal issues?

Asked on June 5, 2018 under Personal Injury, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

PA is what is know as an "all party consent state". This means that all parties to a conversation must agree to its being recorded. That having been said, if the conversation takes place in an area where it could reasonably be over heard (e.g. in a public place such as a restaurant, lobby of an office building, etc.), there is no expectation of privacy. Accordingly, permission for a recording is not legally required. The dilema here is if your front porch constitutes a public place. At this point, you may want to consult directly with a local attoreny who can best advise after going over all of the details of your situation.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Expectation of privacy is irrelevan to audio recordingd: in a two-party (which really should be called "all party")  consent state, you need people to consent to be audio recorded. You may not audio record her or anyone without their consent; doing so is a crime. You may record video in a shared or common area, but you have to disable the audio.


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