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

Sharing is caring!

Montana, known for its breathtaking landscapes, the Rocky Mountains, and its rich history including the Battle of Little Bighorn, also has specific guidelines when it comes to the use of security cameras. Before you get started, understanding the security camera laws in Montana can save you from potential legal troubles.

1. What are the Security Camera Laws in Montana?

So, you’re thinking about boosting the security around your Montana home or business with a security camera system? Smart move! But before you start mounting those cameras, let’s talk about Montana’s laws on the subject. Trust me, the last thing you want is to inadvertently break a law when all you’re trying to do is keep an eye on things.

Privacy Matters: Eavesdropping Laws

Montana’s got some strong privacy rights, my friend. The Montana Code Annotated (MCA) § 45-8-213 spells out eavesdropping offenses. While it primarily deals with audio interception, you’ll want to be cautious about where and how you use cameras with audio recording capabilities. Recording someone without their knowledge or consent could get you in hot water, especially if you’re capturing private conversations where the participants expect privacy.

Key takeaway: If you’re installing cameras that have audio, either disable the audio feature or make sure you have explicit consent from those being recorded.

Expectation of Privacy

You’d think this goes without saying, but you’d be surprised. Always avoid installing cameras in places where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as bathrooms, dressing rooms, and bedrooms. Infringing on someone’s privacy in these areas not only can be creepy but also illegal.

Notification is Golden

Though Montana doesn’t have a specific statute mandating signage for surveillance cameras, it’s always a best practice. Informative signs not only deter potential criminals but also ensure visitors are aware they’re being recorded. This is especially crucial for businesses. A simple “Premises Under Surveillance” can make all the difference.

Consent for Businesses

If you’re a business owner, and you’re recording both video and audio, remember the Montana eavesdropping laws. Ideally, inform your employees and get their consent for audio recordings. Written consent is always the safest route.

Data Storage and Sharing

While Montana doesn’t have explicit laws about storing security footage, you should be aware of general privacy laws. Avoid sharing footage unnecessarily, and if you’re storing footage, make sure it’s secured to prevent unauthorized access.

2. Other Laws Pertaining to Security Cameras in Montana

Keep in mind that while this list provides an overview, laws can be complex and are subject to change. It’s essential to consult with a local attorney when determining the best approach for using security cameras in Montana.

  • MCA § 45-5-223 – Invasion of Privacy: This statute criminalizes the act of surreptitiously observing, photographing, or filming another person in a residence without their consent. If you’re placing cameras within your home, ensure they aren’t capturing images inside a neighbor’s house or apartment, even inadvertently.
  • MCA § 30-14-1701 – Montana Data Breach Notification Act: If your security camera system stores recorded data digitally and it gets breached, you might be obligated to notify those affected, especially if the breach results in unauthorized access to personal information. Ensure you have proper data protection measures in place.

security camera laws in Montana

3. Montana’s Consent Requirements

Montana is a two-party consent state, meaning that all parties involved in a conversation must consent before any recording can occur. This includes both audio and video recordings. Hence, if a security camera captures audio, explicit consent from those being recorded is necessary.

4. Penalties for Violating Security Camera Laws in Montana

Violations of security camera laws in Montana can lead to legal consequences including criminal charges and civil judgements.

Montana Code Annotated (MCA) § 45-8-213 – Eavesdropping Offenses:

A person convicted of eavesdropping (without the required knowledge or consent) can be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to 10 years, or both.

If a person discloses or uses any information that they know (or should know) was obtained through illegal eavesdropping, they can be fined up to $5,000, imprisoned for up to 5 years, or both.

MCA § 45-5-223 – Invasion of Privacy:

A person who violates this statute can be charged with a misdemeanor offense. The specific penalty can vary, but generally, misdemeanors in Montana can result in fines of up to $500, imprisonment in the county jail for up to 6 months, or both.

MCA § 30-14-1701 – Montana Data Breach Notification Act:

This statute itself does not specify criminal penalties. Instead, it provides provisions on notification requirements in the event of a data breach. However, failing to adhere to these requirements could lead to civil penalties, potential lawsuits, or actions by the Attorney General.

Note: The exact penalties might depend on the circumstances of the breach, the number of offenses, and whether the offender has a history of similar violations. Always consult with a legal professional to get the most accurate and current information on any legal matter.

installation outdoor camera

5. Using Security Cameras in Montana Homes and Businesses

Whether you’re aiming to keep your Montana home safe or want to ensure your business is secure, it’s pivotal to strike a balance between security and privacy. Remember, a well-informed camera setup not only captures footage but also earns you trust and compliance points.

Dos and Don’ts for Home Security Cameras in Montana:

Security cameras can offer an extra layer of protection and peace of mind for Montana homeowners. However, there’s a fine line between surveillance and invasion of privacy.


  • Install cameras in areas like entrances, driveways, and garages to deter potential intruders.
  • Use signs to inform visitors they’re under surveillance, especially if audio is being recorded.
  • Regularly check storage and ensure data security measures are robust.


  • Position cameras to capture areas inside a neighbor’s property.
  • Install cameras in private areas such as bedrooms or bathrooms.
  • Record audio without the consent of everyone being recorded. Remember, Montana’s eavesdropping laws are stringent.

Dos and Don’ts for Business Security Cameras in Montana:

Security cameras are essential tools for Montana businesses, not just for security but also for operational reasons. Yet, walking the privacy tightrope is crucial.


  • Clearly communicate to employees about where cameras are and the purpose they serve.
  • Get written consent from employees if audio recording is enabled.
  • Use cameras in common areas like hallways, entry points, and parking lots to enhance security.


  • Install cameras in personal spaces, such as restrooms or private offices, unless there’s a significant, well-communicated reason.
  • Use the recorded footage for purposes other than those stated during installation, like secretly monitoring employee productivity.
  • Assume that just because you’re the business owner, you can bypass privacy laws. Remember, legal compliance is essential.

common security camera installation mistakes

6. Filing Complaints for Security Camera Law Violations

So, you’ve got a hunch that someone might be overstepping the bounds with their security cameras? It’s essential to know your rights and the steps to ensure they’re protected. Let’s get you familiarized with the process of standing up against security camera law violations in Big Sky Country.

Know When to Raise the Red Flag:

Potential violations might include:

    1. Cameras positioned to capture your private spaces without your knowledge or consent.
    2. Recording of audio from your premises without permission.
    3. Unauthorized distribution or sharing of footage that includes you.
    4. Cameras in private spaces, such as restrooms or changing rooms in public areas.

Laying the Groundwork for Your Complaint:

  1. Document Everything: Before you rush off to report, gather evidence. Take photos, make notes of dates, times, and specific incidents, and, if possible, get testimonies from witnesses.
  2. Know the Specific Law Being Violated: While you don’t need to be a lawyer, having a basic understanding of which Montana security camera laws are being breached can be beneficial. This knowledge can help articulate your complaint better.

Filing Your Complaint – Here’s Your How-To:

  1. Local Authorities: Depending on the nature of the violation, your first point of contact might be your local police department or sheriff’s office. They can guide you on immediate actions and further procedures.
  2. Montana Department of Justice: If you believe the violation is extensive or systematic, approach the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ). They’re the heavy lifters when it comes to ensuring justice is served statewide. Ensure you have all your evidence in order, and be as detailed as possible in your description of the violation.


Security cameras are invaluable tools for safety and surveillance. However, in Montana, it’s crucial to balance the right to security with individuals’ right to privacy. Before installing these systems, always familiarize yourself with Montana’s specific laws to ensure legal compliance.

Security Camera Laws in Other States


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

While there’s no statewide requirement for permits, always check local regulations and HOA rules before installation.

Can employers use video cameras in Montana workplaces?

Yes, but they must respect areas of reasonable privacy such as restrooms and break rooms, and be transparent about their surveillance.

Is it legal to record someone without their consent in Montana?

Montana is a two-party consent state. This means all parties in a conversation must give consent before recording, whether audio or video. Always ensure you have consent before recording any interactions.

security camera laws in Missouri

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

security camera laws in Nebraska

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