The Security Camera Laws in New Hampshire

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New Hampshire, known for its picturesque landscapes and small-town charm, has more than its fair share of natural beauty. The state has also made significant strides in adopting technology for everyday life, including the use of security cameras to monitor homes and businesses. As technology continues to evolve, it’s essential to be aware of the security camera laws in New Hampshire s tobe compliant and avoid any legal mishaps.

1. What are the Security Camera Laws in New Hampshire?

As someone who’s installed countless systems, I can tell you firsthand that a well-placed camera can work wonders. But before you go drilling holes and running cables, there are a few legal points you need to know to ensure your setup is on the right side of the law.

Invasion of Privacy (RSA 644:9):

  • The Statute: New Hampshire law, under RSA 644:9, prohibits the invasion of an individual’s privacy. If you record or observe someone in a place where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy without their knowledge or consent, you’re crossing into murky waters.
  • What It Means for You: Always be conscious of where you’re placing cameras. For homes, avoid areas like bathrooms, bedrooms, or any private space. For businesses, avoid personal spaces like changing rooms or restrooms. A lobby or storefront? You’re generally golden. An employee break room? Tread carefully and consider the expectations of those being recorded.

Audio Recording – Wiretapping (RSA 570-A):

  • The Statute: New Hampshire is a two-party consent state when it comes to audio recording. This means you can’t record private conversations unless all parties involved have given their consent.
  • What It Means for You: If your security camera has audio capabilities, you’ll need to get consent from everyone you record. To keep things simple (and legal), consider using cameras that only capture video or disabling the audio feature.

Posting Notices:

While not explicitly a criminal statute, it’s generally a good practice (and sometimes a requirement based on the specific context) to post notices about video surveillance. It serves two purposes:

  • Informing Visitors: A heads-up can deter potential wrongdoers and keep honest folks honest.
  • Reducing Legal Gray Areas: By letting people know they’re on camera, you help to negate any claims of invasion of privacy.

Tips from a Professional:

  1. When in doubt, consult with a local attorney familiar with New Hampshire’s privacy laws. They can offer guidance tailored to your specific situation.
  2. Opt for high-quality cameras. Not only will they provide better footage, but they often come with features that can help you ensure compliance, like audio disabling or masking private areas.
  3. Regularly check and maintain your system. Not just for functionality, but to ensure your setup still aligns with the legal landscape, which can evolve over time.

security camera laws in New Hampshire

2. Other New Hampshire Laws Related to Security Cameras

Here’s a list of other New Hampshire laws that might impact using security camera:

Disorderly Conduct (RSA 644:2):

  • Description: This statute prohibits a person from purposely causing a breach of the peace or inconvenience.
  • Application to Cameras: If your cameras are placed in a manner that harasses or provokes others, leading to disorderly behavior, you might be in violation of this law.

Criminal Trespass (RSA 635:2):

  • Description: The statute covers unauthorized entries onto a property.
  • Application to Cameras: If you install a camera on someone else’s property without permission, you may be trespassing.

Stalking (RSA 633:3-a):

  • Description: This law prohibits engaging in conduct targeting a specific individual which causes them to fear for their personal safety.
  • Application to Cameras: Using security cameras to specifically monitor or harass someone could be considered stalking.

Harassment (RSA 644:4):

  • Description: This statute outlaws any person from carrying out actions which are meant to annoy or alarm another person.
  • Application to Cameras: Cameras should not be used to intentionally harass neighbors or others. If someone expresses discomfort with a camera’s placement, and it’s used to intentionally provoke them, this law may come into play.

Criminal Use of Electronic Device (RSA 638:17):

  • Description: It’s illegal to use an electronic device to commit a crime.
  • Application to Cameras: If a security camera system is tampered with to support criminal activities, or if footage is manipulated and used for criminal purposes, it falls under this statute.

Remember, while these laws provide a framework, the specifics of each situation matter a lot. Always consult legal counsel if you’re unsure or think you might be straying into a legal gray area.

3. Penalties for Violating The Security Camera Laws in New Hampshire

Violation of New Hampshire’s surveillance laws can result in severe penalties, including criminal charges.

  • Invasion of Privacy (RSA 644:9): Those found guilty can face a misdemeanor charge for the first offense. Subsequent offenses can be classified as felonies, leading to more severe penalties like longer jail sentences or higher fines.
  • Audio Recording – Wiretapping (RSA 570-A): Unauthorized interception or use of wire communications can result in a felony charge, leading to potential imprisonment and hefty fines.
  • Disorderly Conduct (RSA 644:2): Violators can be charged with a misdemeanor, which might entail fines and potential jail time.
  • Criminal Trespass (RSA 635:2): Penalties can range from a violation to a misdemeanor, depending on the severity of the trespass. This can lead to fines and possible jail time.
  • Stalking (RSA 633:3-a): Stalking can be categorized as either a Class A misdemeanor or a Class B felony, depending on the specifics of the case. Convictions can result in substantial fines and imprisonment.
  • Harassment (RSA 644:4): Those found guilty can be charged with a misdemeanor, which includes fines and potential incarceration.
  • Criminal Use of Electronic Device (RSA 638:17): This can result in a misdemeanor charge. If convicted, an individual may face fines and jail time.
  • Installing Security Cameras in New Hampshire Homes

For residential use, it’s generally permissible to install security cameras both inside and outside your home. However, the cameras should not be placed in areas where individuals have an expectation of privacy, such as bathrooms or other people’s property. Moreover, if the camera records audio, all parties being recorded must be aware and consent to it.

hoa camera installation

4. Security Cameras in Your New Hampshire Businesses

It’s just as vital to safeguard your business from potential legal issues as it is to secure your premises.

Employee Consent: Why It Matters

  • Legal Standpoint: New Hampshire values an individual’s right to privacy. Even in a business setting, this right doesn’t entirely disappear.
  • Best Practice: Open a dialogue with your employees. Explain why you’re installing the cameras, where they’ll be located, and how the footage will be used. Not only is it a courteous move, but getting explicit consent can help avoid potential legal tangles down the road.Bonus Tip: Consider adding a clause about security cameras to your employment contracts or handbooks for future hires.

Say it Loud, Say it Clear: The Power of Signage

While not an explicit mandate, posting signs about video surveillance is a best practice that serves a dual purpose:

Why Posting Signs Is Beneficial

Reason Benefits
Transparency Keeps everyone informed, reducing any perceived invasion of privacy.
Crime Deterrence A simple sign can be a powerful deterrent against theft or misconduct.
Legal Safety Net In case of any disputes, clear signage indicates informed consent.

Hotspots and Blind Spots: Where to Install (and Where Not to!)

Listed below are some general dos and don’ts for camera placements:

  • Do Install in:
    • Storefronts and cash registers
    • Entrances and exits
    • Parking lots
    • Stockrooms
  • Avoid Installing in:
    • Restrooms
    • Employee break rooms
    • Personal offices (unless consent is given)

Remember, the goal is always to strike a balance between security and privacy.

Retention and Access: Handling Footage with Care

  • Storage: New Hampshire doesn’t specify a set retention period for surveillance footage. Still, as a rule of thumb, keeping recordings for 30 days is a common practice.
  • Access: Only authorized individuals should access the footage. Regular audits can ensure no misuse or unauthorized access occurs.

5. How to File a Complaint for Violation of Surveillance Laws in New Hampshire

If you find yourself in a position where you believe your privacy rights have been violated in New Hampshire, rest assured—there’s a protocol in place to support and guide you.

Deciding Where to File: Understanding Your Options

You have two primary avenues:

  • New Hampshire Department of Justice (NH DOJ): They’re your go-to for statewide issues and larger-scale infringements.
  • Local Police Station: For more localized concerns or if you believe the infringement involves a criminal act, your local police department will be your first line of response.

Building Your Case: Essential Elements of an Effective Complaint

While it’s distressing to feel violated, an effective complaint is precise, factual, and organized. Here’s a checklist to ensure you’re including all necessary details:

Checklist for Your Complaint:

  • Identifying Details: Name and location of the individual or business.
  • Time Stamps: Exact date(s) and if possible, the time of the incident.
  • Narrative: A clear, concise, and factual description of what transpired.
  • Eyewitness Accounts: Names and contact details of any witnesses.
  • Supporting Proof: Any available evidence like photographs, video footage, or even audio recordings that back your claim.

Beyond the Complaint: What Next?

After filing, it’s natural to wonder about the next steps. Here’s a general flow of what might follow:

Post-Complaint Process

Step Description
Review Authorities will review your complaint to determine its validity.
Investigation If found substantial, an investigation may be initiated.
Feedback Expect feedback or updates on the status of your complaint and the course of action.
Resolution Depending on the findings, corrective measures or penalties may be enforced.

Safeguarding Your Rights in the Future

Stay informed about the evolving landscape of surveillance laws. Knowledge empowers, and by being aware of your rights, you’re less likely to find yourself in similar situations down the road.


While security cameras can provide a sense of safety and deter crime, they must be used responsibly and in accordance with the laws of New Hampshire. If you’re considering installing a security system with cameras, it’s crucial to understand the legal landscape to protect yourself from any legal pitfalls.

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

No, you generally do not need a permit, but it’s always good to check with your local municipality or Homeowner’s Association for any specific rules.

Can employers install security cameras in workplaces in New Hampshire?

Yes, but they should avoid placing cameras in private areas such as restrooms, and they should inform employees that they are being recorded.

Can you record someone without their consent in New Hampshire?

No, New Hampshire is a two-party consent state, meaning you must have the consent of all parties being recorded if the recording includes audio.

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