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Transportation Crime Privacy

2015 Corvette Valet Mode Recorder Illegal In Some States 269

innocent_white_lamb writes: The 2015 Corvette has a Valet Mode that records audio and video when someone other than the owner is driving the car. Activating the Valet Mode allows you to record front-facing video as well as capture audio from within the car so you can help keep your Corvette safe when it's in the hands of others. Well, it turns out that recording audio from within the car may be considered a felony in some states that require notice and consent to individuals that they are being recorded. Now GM is sending notices out to dealerships and customers alerting them to this fact as well as promising a future update to the PDR system.
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2015 Corvette Valet Mode Recorder Illegal In Some States

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  • huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26, 2014 @11:02AM (#48002753)

    Isn't the inside of the car is privately owned by the owner of the car?

    • Re:huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Friday September 26, 2014 @11:13AM (#48002893) Homepage
      so a simple disclaimer on the visor will due

      For quality assurance, your valet drive may be recorded. If you do not consent to being recorded, do not drive this car.

      It works for anything over the telephone right??
      • In some states, all parties must be explicitly aware of the recording and consent to it.

        The key here is explicit. However the driver is notified, it must be obvious and conspicuous so the sticker may need to be a lot more intrusive.

        • Re:huh? (Score:5, Informative)

          by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday September 26, 2014 @12:08PM (#48003475)
          Doubtful. Walk into most gas stations or any major retail store and you're under video surveillance and their notification amounts to a sticker on the window of the door or on the wall as you enter the building. If there's a notification on the visor, that would be sufficient in my opinion. Those are about as non-intrusive as it gets so why should a car be held to higher standards?
        • and that's fine. I'd rather tell the kid who's going to park my car that his activity is being recorded, so then he will park it safely, quietly and carefully.

          The alternative seems to be to catch him urinating in your glovebox (or whatever they do) and then suing him afterwards whilst posting it on youtube to get the ad revenue and a bit of attention. IMHO this is the wrong way to go about matters and only really enriches lawyers and we shouldn't be encouraging them!

        • Would something like this on the dash display be obvious enough? "To ensure quality of valet service, this drive may be recorded. To consent to this recording and allow shifting out of PARK, press DOWN then UP on the center console directional control."
        • In some states, all parties must be explicitly aware of the recording and consent to it.

          California has sections of law that target recordings (audio and video) in vehicles specifically. So what you may know of laws about audio recording may not apply in vehicles.

      • "All your audio and video are belong to us"

    • by Enry ( 630 ) <enry@waygFORTRANa.net minus language> on Friday September 26, 2014 @11:15AM (#48002909) Journal

      That's kinda the point. This wouldn't be any different from putting hidden cameras in your house when the babysitter is over. You're not in a public place, so you should have a reasonable expectation of privacy. You don't lose that expectation just because you were invited into someone else's property.

      I'd put a sticker on the window "car has recording technology installed" and maybe a notice on the dash when the car starts or goes into that mode. That's pretty easy to do. Well, not so easy after the fact. Maybe next model year.

      • This wouldn't be any different from putting hidden cameras in your house when the babysitter is over. You're not in a public place, so you should have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

        Nope, wrong. It's your house. You can put all the cameras you want inside of it. There are no restrictions.

        There have been several cases where people hid cameras in their house to catch babysitters or others doing things and there is no issue with them doing it.
        • Re:huh? (Score:5, Informative)

          by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Friday September 26, 2014 @11:25AM (#48003035) Homepage Journal
          The problem here is recording audio. In the states where this isn't permitted, it is considered "Wire tapping" since it is "intercepting communication". These are called "all party states", where everyone has to give consent.

          You are, however, free to record just video.
        • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

          Why would the video portion be any different than someone snapping a photo through the window? I believe that part is completely legal. The audio, on the other hand...

        • Re:huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday September 26, 2014 @11:36AM (#48003149) Homepage

          Nope, wrong. It's your house. You can put all the cameras you want inside of it. There are no restrictions.

          So, if the car is private property ... I'd be curious to know the legal distinction.

          If you have no expectation of privacy in my home, you also have no expectation of privacy in my car.

          It's not a public space, and you're there under my permission to complete a specific task. If you subsequently go outside the bounds of that task, or start rifling through my stuff, in what way is it different from a nanny cam?

          And, really, just take a page out of the playbook of software ... by entering this car you agree to all terms and conditions set forth by the vehicle owner. (I'm joking on that one, I don't agree that click through EULAs in which one party can arbitrarily make changes is a good idea.)

          • I think the difference here is video vs. audio. there are a lot of systems so you can put videocameras in your home. it seems that they all omit audio, and this is why.
        • by mccrew ( 62494 )

          This wouldn't be any different from putting hidden cameras in your house when the babysitter is over. You're not in a public place, so you should have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

          Nope, wrong. It's your house. You can put all the cameras you want inside of it. There are no restrictions..

          So to take that argument to its conclusion, then it is OK to place a hidden camera in a bathroom where babysitter might be bathing, changing, or other state of partial undress?

          • Well yeah! Have to make some extra money on the side.

            Obviously that scenario would not be legal, but putting cameras in your house to see what the babysitter is doing or to see if anyone breaks in is perfectly legal.

            • Obviously that scenario would not be legal, but putting cameras in your house to see what the babysitter is doing or to see if anyone breaks in is perfectly legal.

              Actually, it's a tough call on the legality, because in theory the guest could change clothes in any "private" room in the house.

              If the only other person in the house is a baby in a crib, and I change clothes in a bedroom, then is capturing video of me "illegal", while if I merely enter the bedroom and walk around, the capture is "legal"?

      • That's kinda the point. This wouldn't be any different from putting hidden cameras in your house when the babysitter is over.

        No it isn't. Recording video without consent or notification is generally legal. Recording audio is not. Most security cameras record silently for this reason.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Which is insane, and reeks of laws that were made before anyone thought video would be common place. Either they should both be legal, or not.

          • Re:huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by WorBlux ( 1751716 ) on Friday September 26, 2014 @12:07PM (#48003465)
            If you capture video of two deaf people signing to each other, is that wiretapping?
          • Which is insane.

            No, not really. If I am in a public place, such as a park, with a friend, then I expect that other people can see me. But I do NOT expect that other people can listen to our conversation. So I have no visual expectation of privacy, but I do have an audio expectation of privacy.

            Either they should both be legal, or not.

            Be careful what you wish for. Security cameras are pervasive and accepted in our society, but almost none have microphones. If you insist that audio and video should be treated the same, the result will likely be less privacy, as

      • I'd put a sticker on the window "car has recording technology installed"

        I sure as hell wouldn't put a big ugly sticker on the window when a big reason I just paid $80k for it is how it looks. A notice on the dash during valet mode is acceptable.

    • Laws don't stop being enforceable because you are within the confines of your property.
    • by gnupun ( 752725 )
      What about the inside of an employee's cube? Do you still think it's okay to violate someone's privacy just because someone uses your equipment/space?
    • Yes, but may need to be solved with a disclaimer sticker on the visor or dash.

    • It's related to the expectation of privacy, probably similar to the situation in a privately owned building. They can definitely have surveillance cameras out in the hallways. They definitely can not have cameras in the restrooms. Cameras may or may not be alowable in other rooms, depending on their purposes. Most companies stick to hallways, lobbies and elevators for their surveillance cameras to be on the safe side.

    • by Sun ( 104778 )

      According to that logic, if I own an apartment, and I rent it out to you, I can video and audio record its interior.

      It doesn't work that way, and that's a good thing. When you are driving a car, you have a reasonable expectation that you are not being watched and recorded all the time.

      The country I live in (Israel) is strictly a "one party" country. Recording the inside of a car is, however, a case where none of the parties to the conversation are aware of the recording. It wouldn't pass here either.

      Shachar

  • I'm sorry your Corvette is being cited for child pornography and its distribution....
  • I'll record whomever I want while they are inside it. There is no natural law obligation to get consent from someone who is driving *my* car.

    • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Friday September 26, 2014 @11:07AM (#48002817)

      Its not illegal as long as you mention "Hey, my car has video cameras in it." before you hand them the keys.

      Whats illegal is taping them without their knowledge. They could potentially make a call to their lawyer or doctor after they park it and you could unintentionally record privileged information. At some point such systems will be so common you wont have to mention it anymore.

      • You shouldn't be making private calls inside somebody else's car, especially if you are the valet and you are just supposed to be parking it and then getting back so you can park the next one. My car is not a lounge room for you to sit around and relax in. The valet is supposed to park it. That is all.

        If the problem is that I "could unintentionally record privileged information", then I probably shouldn't be allowed to use recording devices at all. There's no telling when somebody might walk by and utt
      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Whats illegal is taping them without their knowledge. They could potentially make a call to their lawyer or doctor after they park it and you could unintentionally record privileged information. At some point such systems will be so common you wont have to mention it anymore.

        While true, taking personal calls on the job is generally considered very poor form (and many service-oriented places do not allow it, like restaurants), especially where a motor vehicle is being operated. And given most valet driving t

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        Yeah, that is why you don't see any obvious warning labels. And people have seen so many tv shows, reading people their rights is also not needed anymore.

        What might actualy happen is that they need to sign a consent form

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      If you don't need to get consent from your valet that it's natural that the hotel doesn't need your consent for recording what you say in your room (which is actually their room).
      Is it all right for you ?

      • It depends on the contract I enter with the hotel. If I book a hotel room without a contractual guarantee of privacy, then I have no expectation of privacy because it is not my property. If I book with a contractual guarantee of privacy and they violate that, then they have committed fraud by taking my money and not fulfilling their end of the contract.

        • There was once something like "common sense"
          Obviously common sense once dictated that you can assume a rented room in a hotel guarantees your privacy.

          Your post is bogus, for such common assumptions you don't need contractual clauses.

          I never made a contract anyway when I stayed in a hotel, I signed myself in and payed the bill on exit ... no contract involved.

          • I never made a contract anyway when I stayed in a hotel, I signed myself in and payed the bill on exit ... no contract involved.

            I agree with the rest of your post ... but that paper you sign on the dotted line when you register?

            That's a contract stipulating what they'll give you, and what they expect from you.

            I know I've never stayed at a hotel which didn't have the "sign here" form. You probably didn't read it, but you did sign it. At the very least, you agreed to be responsible for damages and your bill

            • The 'sign here 'papers usually have absolutely no 'contract words' on them but ask your name, your birthdate and your origin/home address, thats it. Over 50% of the time I'm in a hotel, I sign nothing at all.

              That's a contract stipulating what they'll give you, and what they expect from you.
              In a typical hotel in Europe there is nothing like this on the sign in form. The only 'contract like' thing is the price list at the mini bar or on the video on demand player.

        • I'm pretty sure that most Inn Keeper laws more or less say you're getting the space for your exclusive private use, and that except for housekeeping and extenuating circumstances, the room and its contents are private as long as they're being rented to you.

          I think a hotel taking your money is already defined as having an expectation of privacy, and putting recording devices in there would be illegal.

          I would be surprised it was legal for a hotel to install recording equipment in rooms and not run afoul of th

      • Wrong way. You are paying the hotel to stay there with a reasonable expectation of (semi)privacy. The Valet is not paying YOU to drive your vehicle, YOU are paying the valet ( both in tips and through their wages being rolled into purchase prices ) to drive your vehicle.

        Playing devils advocate:
        It's been argued here and elsewhere that employers are justified in recording employees using the employers equipment at work; the valet is just another subcontractor that you hire while he/she works for the hotel /

      • It's your room while your renting it. Just like the hotel can not allow the police access to your hotel room until you have checked out without court order or probable cause.

    • You act like they are uninvited guests. You are free not to use valet services. This is more like employers notifying the employees all their email may be monitored. If this became more of a thing I would think companies that provide valet services would start to require their employees to sign a consent before working.

      But really, there is no harm in notifying them. I'm sure most people would rather a valet be on their best behavior and an undamaged car than evidence and a damaged car.

    • There are privacy laws.
      But you can do as you want, just don't be surprised if the guys and girls you record sue you :)
      And don't be surprised what you actually might see ... e.g. your wife getting f***ed ... or don't be surprised if one who realizes it 'was you' who filmed him and compromised him on the internet smashes your face.

      How does it come that americans are so retarded?

    • There is no natural law obligation to get consent from someone who is driving *my* car.

      Next time the valet's name tag reads "John Locke," make sure you point that out.

  • by genner ( 694963 ) on Friday September 26, 2014 @11:04AM (#48002777)
    This car monitored for quality assurance.
    • No, sorry. Many states require not just being informed, but also consent on the part of one or more parties involved in a 'wiretap'. The reason places you call get away with "this call may be monitored" is that the other party consents, and the most stringent interstate requirements require single-party consent.

      When you're not in your car, you can't be the one granting consent.

      • Sorry, but simply by adding "By entering this vehicle you are agreeing to be monitored" is all that is needed.
        • Sorry, but simply by adding "By entering this vehicle you are agreeing to be monitored" is all that is needed.

          You know, that brings up an interesting thought exercise.

          If the valet can legally refuse to be recorded, then can they then legally say "sorry, you need to park somewhere else"? Because your ability to get service might be trumped by their privacy rights.

          I'm not saying I disagree with you, and I'm not sure I'd trust valets who said they wouldn't park the car if they were going to be monitored.

          I've

          • by Pope ( 17780 )

            You know, that brings up an interesting thought exercise.

            If the valet can legally refuse to be recorded, then can they then legally say "sorry, you need to park somewhere else"? Because your ability to get service might be trumped by their privacy rights.

            I'd side totally on the valet's right to privacy. You have, at MOST, a verbal agreement to have the valet park your car. And those ain't worth the paper they're printed on.

        • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

          Sorry, but simply by adding "By entering this vehicle you are agreeing to be monitored" is all that is needed.

          Yup. I could see the argument if you tried to do that with a fire escape, etc, but the person parking your car has no legal obligation to do business with you in general. Also, monitoring the use of your car isn't particularly egregious in any case especially when you're paying the person who is using it.

        • No it is not :)
          If monitoring is illegal by law, like in Germany, you can not simply wave your right by consenting in that way ... especially not without a written contract (in the cases where contracts can modify written law).

          • by genner ( 694963 )

            No it is not :) If monitoring is illegal by law, like in Germany, you can not simply wave your right by consenting in that way ... especially not without a written contract (in the cases where contracts can modify written law).

            Yeah but in the US you can.

            By reading this post you waive all rights to disagree with me.

        • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

          Sorry, but simply by adding "By entering this vehicle you are agreeing to be monitored" is all that is needed.

          Today I Learned: writing a stated opinion or prediction causes it to become true! I think I'll put a sticker in my garden, "By entering this garden, it has rained today."

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Friday September 26, 2014 @11:05AM (#48002793) Homepage
    But generally allow for signs granting notice to allow you to record.

    If you put a sign up in ALL your cars stating "Warning, some cars of this model may be have cameras that can recorded you." where the driver may see it, that would probably make it legal.

  • by blueshift_1 ( 3692407 ) on Friday September 26, 2014 @11:06AM (#48002809)
    Yeah, this seems like a pretty easy fix. Just a little message on the radio or clear sticker on the instrument panel. Done.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26, 2014 @11:19AM (#48002967)

      Technically, you'd have to add the message in braille to be compliant.

    • Re:Simple fix. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Albanach ( 527650 ) on Friday September 26, 2014 @11:20AM (#48002977) Homepage

      It's a Corvette. You think a Corvette owner wants a label like that on the dashboard?

      Perhaps a better solution would be a 'valet key' that when used limits access to the boot, reduces acceleration (like the Eco mode you get on lots of modern cars and limits speed to say 60mph), When the valet key is placed in the ignition the stereo could announce that video and audio recording will be enabled when the car is started.

      With a key like that, some folk might even let their kids drive the Corvette!

      • Perhaps a better solution would be a 'valet key' that when used limits access to the boot, reduces acceleration (like the Eco mode you get on lots of modern cars and limits speed to say 60mph),

        Except for the recording part, my car has exactly that feature. I can program keys that limit the maximum speed, radio volume, etc. It's a 2011 Ford.

        • It's a 2011 Ford.

          That doesn't narrow things down a lot. Is it an entry level 2011 Fiesta? Or is it a loaded 2011 Mustang GT500? (I would have used the Ford GT as the high end, but they stopped making those in 2006.)

  • My car is a mobile extension of my home. By accepting my invitation to enter, you are accepting the moral and legal obligations that accompany, viz: you consent to being monitored, you consent to being recorded, and you promise to behave yourself lest the recordings be used against you in a civil or criminal claim.

    • My car is a mobile extension of my home. By accepting my invitation to enter, you are accepting the moral and legal obligations that accompany, viz: you consent to being monitored, you consent to being recorded, and you promise to behave yourself lest the recordings be used against you in a civil or criminal claim.

      Unfortunately that is not what the law says in some states. What would deb interesting is how a one party consent state would consider who the other party is? the car? The owner even if they are not a party to the call?

      • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

        is public-facing CCTV legal in those states? What's the difference if it's mounted in a vehicle like a bus or (gasp!) a private conveyance?

        • by tomhath ( 637240 )
          Video is different. You can assume someone is watching you from a distance, even if they can't hear you.
        • is public-facing CCTV legal in those states? What's the difference if it's mounted in a vehicle like a bus or (gasp!) a private conveyance?

          You are not recording the conversation with video. Personally, this is an area where technology has outpaced the law.

    • Walmart, Target and all the other department stores love this idea.

    • If you don't actively inform your guest and make sure he gots the information and actively agreed to it, then you are wrong and recording him in any way is illegal, nearly all over the world.
      You must have a retarded concept of 'freedom' ... I don't wave my freedoms by entering your house.

      Perhaps you should read up in a dictionary what 'consent' means. I certainly don't consent to stuff which I'm not aware about that it is happening!

      • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

        actually, in England if one party to a conversation consents to it being recorded, then anything goes (Data Protection Act 1998 Section 36, which also explicity covers your waiving your rights to anything upon entering MY HOME particularly when not invited). Any individual acting in a public capacity in any given situation waives his right to privacy, period (Stafford, per Munby J). Acting in a public space, even within the confines of a private conveyance, implies consent to being monitored (various local

  • Just put a sticker on the window, kind of like the "oil change reminders" that says audio and video recording is taking place in the vehicle. I haven't looked at this car specifically, but nearly every late-model car has a display in the instrument cluster or the radio/nav system. Make it turn red with the text "Valet Mode - Audio and Video Recording in Progress" and problem solved. If the valet doesn't want to be subjected to the recording, then he can get back out, tell the driver he'll/she'll have to

    • Just put a sticker on the window, kind of like the "oil change reminders" that says audio and video recording is taking place in the vehicle. I haven't looked at this car specifically, but nearly every late-model car has a display in the instrument cluster or the radio/nav system. Make it turn red with the text "Valet Mode - Audio and Video Recording in Progress" and problem solved. If the valet doesn't want to be subjected to the recording, then he can get back out, tell the driver he'll/she'll have to park the car themselves.

      This has the obvious effect of also getting the valet to behave themselves. If I owned a Corvette, I would eagerly (but casually) say to the valet "the recorder is on, be careful". Otherwise, you have an insurance claim to file anyway after he wrecks it, regardless of what gets recorded.

  • Sometimes the term "illegal" is used to mean "inadmissible as evidence in court." I thought one can record any audio anywhere, they just might not be able to use it in court.

    Can someone with legal knowledge of this clarify?

    • by Enry ( 630 )

      Probably comes under wiretapping laws and would be a criminal act. Depends on the state. IANAL, YMMV.

    • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

      In my state recording audio without consent of all parties present is illegal, full stop. The fact that it is illegal also makes it inadmissible in court.

      Of course, lots of things that are illegal aren't prosecuted, and this tends to be one of those things. However, it definitely is against the law.

      • The Supremes disagree with your full stop.They have made it quite clear you can record police without their consent. So there goes your theory on some states having full stop laws on recording.
        • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

          The Supremes disagree with your full stop.They have made it quite clear you can record police without their consent. So there goes your theory on some states having full stop laws on recording.

          Good point. In that case it may or may not be illegal to record audio in some states, and if you get arrested for it you just have to pay to get your case reviewed by the supreme court. Hopefully you have deep pockets.

          The laws on the books say that it is illegal. There is only one way to find out how a court would rule, and that is to get prosecuted for violating the letter of the law.

        • The rules for where and when are a bit confusing. My understanding is that you can record police outside, in public, without their conscent.

    • Clarification is location/situation specific.

      Generally, in Texas, recording conversations is acceptable only when one of the participants is aware of the recording.

      For instance, I can be talking to you on the sidewalk and turn my iPhone recorder on and we're good. I don't need your knowledge or consent.

      What I can't do is leave my iPhone in record mode and leave while you talk to another person. I am not participating, and neither of you guys have knowledge, either.

      For the peace of mind of all parties, it's

  • Just put a sticky note on the mirror saying "This car may be internally monitored by video recording," and point it out when you give the car to the valet. That seems to be legal enough for customer service companies.

    • The "pointing out" part is no good. It's he said/she said and not admissible.

      A sticker, prominently displayed, "This vehicle monitored by video and audio recording," is sufficient.

    • Yep, and if they refuse to park your car upon knowing this or ask you to disable the camera, you're probably better off parking the car yourself or taking your business elsewhere.
  • Given the massive increase in CCTV installs in places like parking areas, can a valet make a convincing claim that they have an expectation of privacy on the job site?

  • Valet mode can only be set when car is off. When enabled, as soon as the key is inserted the video starts recording with no audio. The screen flashes with the consent to be recorded message and a consent button to enable audio recording as well as enabling the car to be started. If the valet doesn't press consent, he can not start the car.

    Any other method cannot guarantee that the valet was aware of the recording, especially since a different valet may retrieve the vehicle.

  • Uh, why?

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