The Security Camera Laws in Missouri: Everything You Need to Know

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As the “Show Me State”, Missouri is steeped in history, home to the iconic Gateway Arch, and known for its dynamic blend of urban and rural settings. However, for those keen on implementing security measures, understanding the security camera laws in Missouri is essential.

1. What are the Security Camera Laws in Missouri?

Missouri takes both security and privacy seriously. While you’re free to guard your castle, you also need to be respectful of others’ rights. The line in the sand? Missouri’s invasion of privacy laws.

The Statute to Know: RSMo § 565.253

This is the big one you should be aware of. Under the Missouri Revised Statutes, RSMo § 565.253, invasion of privacy in the first degree is a crime. Here’s how it applies to your security camera endeavors:

  1. Intention: You can’t knowingly record someone in a place where they expect privacy without their consent. Think bedrooms, bathrooms, and changing rooms.
  2. Distribution: Sharing footage of someone in a private setting without their consent? Big no-no.
  3. Non-Consensual Recording: Missouri is a one-party consent state for audio recordings. That means if you’re recording audio, at least one person in the conversation must be aware of it.

Camera Do’s and Don’ts Based on RSMo § 565.253


  • Install cameras at entrances, exits, driveways, and public-facing areas of your property.
  • Consider using signage to inform visitors that they’re being recorded (especially if you’re a business).
  • Always keep an open line of communication with neighbors if cameras could potentially capture portions of their property.


  • Direct your cameras into areas of someone’s property where there’s an expectation of privacy (e.g., their bedroom or bathroom windows).
  • Secretly record conversations unless you’re part of them or have received consent.
  • Distribute any footage without the knowledge or permission of those involved.

Pro Tip: Maintenance matters! Regularly check your camera angles, especially after storms or high winds, to ensure they haven’t shifted into compromising positions.

Other Missouri Laws Potentially Affecting Security Cameras

Wiretapping/Eavesdropping Law (RSMo § 542.402)

  • Description: This law revolves around intercepting or recording any wire, oral, or electronic communication.
  • Application to Security Cameras: If a security camera has audio recording capabilities, the owner must ensure they comply with the one-party consent rule of Missouri. At least one person being recorded should know they’re being recorded.

Trespass Law (RSMo § 569.140)

  • Description: It’s illegal to unlawfully enter someone’s property.
  • Application to Security Cameras: If you enter someone else’s property to install a camera or adjust its angle without their permission, you could potentially be violating this law.

Harassment (RSMo § 565.090)

  • Description: This statute prohibits engaging in any act with the purpose to cause emotional distress.
  • Application to Security Cameras: Using cameras to intentionally harass someone, like pointing it directly at their bedroom window to cause distress, could be deemed a violation.

Stalking (RSMo § 565.225)

  • Description: Stalking involves unwanted communication or contact causing fear for safety.
  • Application to Security Cameras: If someone uses security footage to stalk another person, they could be found in violation of this law.

Peeping Tom Law (RSMo § 565.252)

  • Description: It’s a crime to secretly or furtively trespass to spy or eavesdrop on someone.
  • Application to Security Cameras: Secretly placing cameras to watch someone without their knowledge, especially in areas where privacy is expected, is a violation.

Data Protection and Breach Notification (RSMo § 407.1500)

  • Description: This law is about the protection of personal information and the obligation to notify in case of a breach.
  • Application to Security Cameras: If footage from security cameras, especially from businesses, containing identifiable personal information is breached or mishandled, this law might come into play.

Remember, these laws are in place to protect everyone’s rights. So, while it’s essential to safeguard your property, it’s equally important to ensure the security measures you take are in line with the legal landscape of Missouri. Always consult with a local attorney if you’re unsure about any specific applications!

security camera laws in Missouri

2. Consent Laws in Missouri

Missouri operates under a one-party consent law concerning recording oral communications. This means that only one party involved in the conversation needs to give consent to be recorded. If a security camera captures audio, as long as one person being recorded has given consent (this can be the person doing the recording), it’s typically lawful.

Understanding One-Party Consent in Missouri

Missouri’s one-party consent rule might sound like a breeze, but there are nuances to be aware of:

  • What One-Party Consent Really Means: In simple terms, as long as one participant in a conversation knows about the recording, you’re typically in the clear. So, if you’re part of the dialogue and you’re recording, that’s usually enough!

Break It Down:

Participants Aware Is It Lawful?
Only you Yes
You and others Yes
Neither (secret) No
  • Exceptions to the Rule: Even with one-party consent, there are boundaries. You can’t use this rule as a free pass to eavesdrop on private chats you’re not part of. That’s both bad manners and illegal!

Areas of Absolute Privacy

Missouri values its residents’ privacy, and there are some places where recording – be it video or audio – is a big no-no.

Absolute No-Record Zones:

  1. Bathrooms: Nobody wants their personal moments broadcasted.
  2. Bedrooms: These are private sanctuaries, and they should stay that way.
  3. Changing rooms: People expect (and deserve) complete privacy here.

Remember, even if you get audio consent, capturing visuals from these areas is a straight path to legal troubles.

Why All This Matters: Privacy invasion isn’t just about hurting feelings; it’s a potential criminal offense in Missouri. So, while you might be keen on safeguarding your space, always ensure you’re respecting the personal and private boundaries of others.

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3. Electronic Monitoring in the Workplace

Missouri does not have specific statutes regarding electronic monitoring in the workplace. However, federal laws and general privacy principles apply. Employers often notify employees of surveillance to avoid potential issues. Nevertheless, areas such as restrooms or locker rooms should remain private, based on general privacy expectations.

The Rule of Thumb: Notify, Notify, Notify!

While the law doesn’t specifically demand it, it’s good practice for employers to:

  1. Inform employees about any electronic monitoring.
  2. Clearly state the purpose of the surveillance – whether it’s for security, productivity checks, or any other reason.
  3. Keep the notification visible. Consider notices at entrances, in employee handbooks, or in individual contract agreements.

Benefits of Notification:

  • Reduces misunderstandings or feelings of distrust among employees.
  • Minimizes the risk of potential legal issues down the road.
  • Creates a transparent work environment where employees know where they stand.

Sacred Spaces in the Workplace:

Even with monitoring, certain places are off-limits due to universally recognized privacy expectations.

Monitor-Free Zones:

  • Restrooms: Because personal hygiene moments should remain personal.
  • Locker Rooms: Whether employees are changing or just stowing their stuff, privacy is key here.
  • Personal Desks or Cubicles: Depending on the nature of the work, this can be a gray area. But if it’s not a shared space, it’s generally a good idea to avoid surveillance.

Why This Matters: While technology has made it easier than ever to keep an eye (or ear) on everything, the principle of mutual respect remains paramount. By balancing the need for security and productivity with an individual’s right to privacy, you’re fostering a work environment that’s both respectful and efficient.

Penalties for Breaking Security Camera Laws in Missouri

Violating privacy laws can lead to criminal and civil repercussions. For example, invasion of privacy in Missouri can result in charges ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the specific circumstances.

1. Wiretapping/Eavesdropping Law (RSMo § 542.402)

  • Misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the specific circumstance.
  • Fines and potential imprisonment.
  • Civil suits for damages.

2. Trespass Law (RSMo § 569.140)

  • Class B misdemeanor if entering unlawfully upon real property of another.
  • Class A misdemeanor if entering unlawfully and purposely damaging property.
  • Potential fines and up to one year of jail time.

3. Harassment (RSMo § 565.090)

  • Class E felony for the first offense.
  • Class D felony for any subsequent offense.
  • Fines and potential imprisonment.

4. Stalking (RSMo § 565.225)

  • Class E felony for a first offense.
  • Class D felony for a second offense within five years.
  • Class C felony for a third or subsequent offense within five years.
  • Potential restraining orders, fines, and imprisonment.

5. Peeping Tom Law (RSMo § 565.252)

  • Class A misdemeanor for the first violation.
  • Class E felony for subsequent violations.
  • Fines and potential imprisonment.

6. Data Protection and Breach Notification (RSMo § 407.1500)

  • Civil penalties of up to $150,000 per breach or series of breaches.
  • Obligation to notify affected individuals.
  • Potential class actions for significant breaches.

Arming yourself with knowledge is the best defense. Stay informed, act responsibly, and ensure your security endeavors align with Missouri’s legal landscape.

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4. How to Address Violations in Missouri

If someone believes their privacy rights have been violated by inappropriate surveillance in Missouri, they can contact local law enforcement or consult with a legal professional. Collecting evidence, such as photographs of the intrusive cameras or recordings, can be useful.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to address potential violations.

Confirm It’s a Violation

First and foremost, make sure you’re not just jumping at shadows. Confirm the camera’s position. Is it really intruding into your private space, or is it just unfortunately angled?

Gather Solid Proof

Your word holds weight, but evidence makes your case rock solid:

  • Snapshots: Take clear photos of the offending camera from various angles to show its intrusive position.
  • Recordings: If you have evidence that audio or video of you was captured without your consent, save that footage.
  • Witness Statements: If someone else noticed the violation, their testimony can add more weight to your claim.

Open a Line of Communication

Before going full-blown legal:

  • Approach the camera owner (if known) diplomatically. Maybe they’re unaware of the violation and are willing to adjust the camera’s position.
  • If it’s a neighbor, a simple conversation can often clear the air and resolve concerns.

Contact the Authorities

If the friendly route doesn’t cut it:

  • Reach out to your local law enforcement. They can guide you on whether the situation merits a formal complaint.
  • File a report, ensuring you detail the nature of the violation and provide your collected evidence.

Seek Legal Counsel

If things escalate:

  • Consult with a legal professional. They can offer advice tailored to your situation.
  • Depending on the severity, you might be entitled to damages, especially if there’s tangible harm or distress caused by the violation.

Know Your Rights and Advocate for Them

Knowledge is power:

  • Familiarize yourself with Missouri’s security camera laws. Being well-informed empowers you during discussions or disputes.
  • Attend community meetings or workshops. Being an advocate for privacy rights benefits both you and your community.


While security cameras serve as a valuable tool for safety and protection in Missouri, it’s crucial to strike a balance with privacy rights. Navigating the line between security and privacy can be challenging. But by being proactive, diplomatic, and informed, you can ensure your peace of mind remains undisturbed in the heart of Missouri. Remember, it’s not just about cameras and footage; it’s about respecting boundaries and valuing personal spaces.

Security Camera Laws in Other States


Do I need a permit to install home security cameras in Missouri?

Missouri does not typically require a permit for private home surveillance. However, always consult local regulations and homeowner association rules.

Can the employer post video cameras in the workplace in Missouri?

There’s no specific Missouri law prohibiting it, but transparency is advised. Employers should notify employees and avoid placing cameras in private areas like restrooms.

Can you video-record someone without their consent in Missouri?

Missouri is a one-party consent state for audio. However, secret video recording, especially in areas of expected privacy, can be problematic and potentially illegal. Always prioritize transparency and respect privacy rights.

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