Warriors – I have seen some ads this week for webcams & voice activated recorders cleverly disguised as all kinds of things: light bulbs, USB phone chargers, clocks, USB thumb drives, etc. I’m concerned that people are buying and using these without researching the legal ramifications. You can go to jail for this stuff!
PLEASE KNOW THE LAWS IN YOUR STATE BEFORE USING ANY SUCH DEVICES! In most states, these devices are only legal to use if you are a party to the recording (meaning that you are one of the people talking on the recording). Other states require all parties to consent before taping. It’s up to you to know the law in your state & country.
There are not only state laws in effect regarding these devices, but federal laws as well. Now I know that most people think federal prisons are cushy country clubs, but really that’s only for people like Martha Stewart & not for ordinary people like us. You do NOT want to get caught breaking federal laws.
Click here to begin educating yourself as to the legalities of using these devices. The Google the specific laws in your state. Do. Your. Homework.
Don’t be fooled by the title “Webcam” – using a “webcam” that records sound is the same as recording conversations under the law. No one wants to go to jail here – particularly when there are other, legal ways of catching a cheater or finding out what is going on.
After you have educated yourself about the law, using these devices is simple. Set it up according to the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations, download the app or login and you’re in business.
Give yourself plenty of time to test the device to make yourself familiar with the way it works and to test it to make sure it’s working properly. I highly recommend this voice activated recorder: Recorder Gear Voice Activated Recorder. I use this one to record conversations and it works well when kept in your pocket or you can just hold it in your hand. It looks like a thumb drive because it is so it’s easy to explain if anyone asks.
I also highly recommend this webcam: Nest Camera. It works great & the website interface is easy to navigate. You can cut, paste and save videos for court purposes, etc. There is a small monthly subscription charge but it’s well worth it.
As I said in What You Need to Know about GPS Tracking Devices, make sure you have a cover story prepared and practiced before using any of these devices. You don’t want to freeze if someone asks what it is or what you’re doing with it. Be cool & calm! Be a Warrior! Be prepared for anything. Think it through and practice your story until it just comes out of your mouth as easily as saying hello.
I also recommend that you get yourself a decent pair of headphones for listening to these recordings – ear buds just don’t work for this purpose. You need headphones that actually go over your ears.
If you decide to thumb your nose at the law and record conversations or activities that you are not a party to, that’s on you. Make your decisions wisely. Keep your mouth shut. Channel your inner Private Investigator. Every lawyer I have spoken to about recording conversations that you are not a party to has emphatically said, “Do Not Do It“. Pick your battles wisely, Warriors – there are other ways to catch rats!
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve used any of these devices – even if you used them for babycam or doggiecam purposes and found something out that you didn’t expect. I used a webcam to check on my dogsitters and found out that my dogsitter just neglected to feed my dogs one night. Talk about angry!! I was enraged!