Can someone video record a conversation without or permission or knowledge?

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Can someone video record a conversation without or permission or knowledge?

I live in MI and my landlord just came over this weekend and walked in my home with my next door neighbor (who I only know because her kids are always screaming outside my home). He began to talk about the rent and when I realized the neighbor was standing there with her cell-phone in hand and had it pointed out I asked what she was doing. My landlord responded with, “Because her son is a cop and it can’t be said that I yelled and swore.” I have heard conflicting stories about whether or not this was legal.

Asked on July 26, 2011 Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all videotaping someone without their permission is typically allowed in most states. The problem arises in the taping of a conversation. Some states are "1 party consent" states; this means that only 1 party to a conversation need to give their permission to have it recorded. Other states are "all party consent" states; meaning that all each party to a conversation must give their consent.

My research suggests that MI is unsettled on the issue. State statute makes it a crime to use any device to eavesdrop upon a conversation without the consent of all parties.  This looks like an "all party consent" law, but 1 state court has ruled that a party in a private conversation may record it without violating the statute because the term "eavesdrop" only refers to overhearing or recording the private conversations of others; not a conversation to which you are a participant.  Apparently the MI Supreme Court has not yet ruled on this, so it is not clear whetheryou may or may record a conversation or phone call if you are a party to it.

At this point you should consult directly with an attorney in your area who can more fully update you on the matter.


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