Wouldn’t it be helpful to be able to maintain a log of every conversation within your business? You could monitor employees, listen to customers, or eavesdrop on thieves as they’re caught on camera. While your business CCTV system is perfectly capable of recording sound, it might not be a good idea. Utilizing that capability could get you into legal trouble.
Are CCTV Cameras Capable of Recording Sound – Yes
Technologically, yes. Your CCTV system is fully capable of recording sound. Most cameras are either equipped with microphones or have an input for an external mic. For commercial cameras, it’s typically the latter. Many CCTV microphones can record quality audio up to six metres away.
Audio-enabled CCTV cameras are typically reserved for residential applications and not for business, so to save on production costs, commercial cameras usually don’t include built-in microphones. If you want a commercial CCTV system that can record audio, it’s going to be expensive, but even if you’re okay spending the extra money, you might want to think twice. In most cases, recording audio in a public place is illegal.
Are Audio Recordings Legal – Maybe Not
Why don’t most business CCTV systems offer audio capabilities? Mostly because it’s illegal. According to the Invasion of Privacy Act, it’s unlawful to make an audio recording of a conversation that you’re not involved in. Unless you plan on being involved in every single conversation at your business (and you can prove it), audio recordings are illegal.
Even if you want to put a camera in your office—which would only record your conversations—there are rules for how that recording can be used. It can only be published or communicated if it’s:
- Played to another person who was part of the conversation.
- A matter of reasonable public interest.
- Used to protect the interest of the person who made the recording (you).
- Used in legal proceedings.
If you want to record audio at your place of work, it’s best to seek legal advice before taking any other action (even if it’s for your private office). Laws vary by region, and there could be applications in which recording audio with your business CCTV system would be both helpful and lawful.
While it might be illegal to record audio at your business, it’s perfectly acceptable for residential CCTV applications, even for outdoor cameras.
Practical Considerations for Audio-Enabled CCTV Systems
Even if you sought legal counsel and found a way to legally record audio, it still might not be practical. Businesses are busy. There are always dozens of conversations at a time. Even with the best audio recording equipment available, you’d have trouble distinguishing individual conversations.
Audio-enabled systems and external microphones are expensive, and if you can’t get decent audio, is it really worth it? That’s why most commercial camera manufacturers don’t bother with built-in microphones. It’s just a waste of money.
Business CCTV Solutions from Four Walls Security
While your business CCTV system might be perfectly capable of recording sound, it’s not suggested for commercial applications. Aside from the potential legal ramifications, it’s simply not practical for busy environments. You’ll spend extra money to install audio equipment only to hear a ruckus as dozens of people speak simultaneously.
Although you won’t be able to hear anything, installing a business CCTV system can help you identify intruders and keep a watchful eye (not ear) over your operation. If you’re interested in securing your property with CCTV, consult the experts at Four Walls Security. We can help you identify the perfect system for your needs, install it in your business, and ensure that it’s working properly. Ready for unmatched peace of mind? Contact us for a free, no obligation quote today.