I live on a campus in Washington State (at a public/state-funded school) and am interested in recording video (no audio) 24/7 in my dorm room without explicitly informing people who come in. I'm not sure if it's relevant but my dorm is paid for in full by a university scholarship.

All the information I could find about recording video in my own house (dorm) said that it was legal, except for areas with a higher expectation of privacy (bathrooms, bedrooms, etc).

I thought all hope was lost but then I came across a case where a person was recorded while using a living room as her bedroom. The judge ruled that even though the room was usually one of the most public rooms in a house, it was being used as a bedroom and therefore was subject to higher expectations of privacy.

I was wondering if this works the other way as well. It is true that my dorm does have a bed in it and it is where I sleep. However, when guests are over, it is not being used as a bedroom, rather a social area. Is this enough to get away without informing anyone?

  • They enter with expectations that as a bedroom, it is not being routinely recorded. Very unlikely that you can record them in that setting without informing them.
    – user4657
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 9:58
  • You asked this question already.
    – user6726
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 14:01
  • 1
    I asked a question about recording audio
    – Jon
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 17:29
  • 1
    I'm not sure someone visiting a dorm room considers it a bedroom upon entering. A lot of things occur in dorm rooms that aren't at all bedroom-related. That said, if it were the other way around, I'm not sure it could operate as the poster describes in the final paragraph - in other words, I'm not sure it could switch on the fly, turning into something other than a bedroom upon guests arriving.
    – A.fm.
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 19:45
  • The purpose of the recording probably matters. The biggest concern would be video of someone undressing or having sex, which is pretty inevitable if it is a 24/7 recording. It also probably matters if you have roommates.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 14:25

1 Answer 1


Schools typically have rules of conduct and yours may even have rules or notes of cases addressing this very issue, having already determined the parameters. As a public institution in WA, they would probably have administrative rules as authorized or required under various RCWs.

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