The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Potential Liability for Recording Devices

Reference Number: MTAS-1909
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: November 09, 2016

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The potential liability for the use of a video recording device such as a helmet cam is significant, especially on emergency responses where a person may be injured and the camera may record information protected by HIPAA. Individuals should consider the potential liability, possible violation of privacy laws, and implications of making these “up close and personal” videos, as the mere existence of the video opens the door to public record requests under the Tennessee Public Records Act. Municipalities and fire departments must control what happens in the fire department and should consider adopting policies that regulate or prohibit the use of personally owned video and still photography cameras, including those on cell phones, and the use of these cameras on municipal property, in the fire station, on training exercises, and on emergency responses.

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