Consider a hypothetical physical therapy clinic in California. It is my understanding that it would be against the laws of the clinic to video tape the patients without their knowledge. Please correct me if I am wrong on this. However, suppose the clinic had cameras that watched the patients as they received therapy and the cameras could be viewed by the management in real time but the images was not saved. Could the clinic legally do this without consent from the patients? There defense would be that there is no recording of the images.

When I wrote without their consent, I meant they were doing it without the patients knowing it was being done.

  • 1
    FWIW, the issues do not pertain to HIPPA which permits in house sharing of medical information, nor is it medical specific. There is also no federal prohibition against videotaping someone without their consent or knowledge. The issue would be limited to CA law on monitoring someone by close circuit TV or the equivalent without their knowledge or consent, and knowledge would probably be sufficient even then.
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 20 at 22:34
  • if anything, such a setup might be to detect misconduct of therapists or patients.
    – Trish
    Sep 21 at 8:03

1 Answer 1


It depends on the nature of the physical therapy. It is not generally illegal for cameras to monitor activities, unless it is placed in a fashion that would constitute an invasion of privacy. A clear case of invasion of privacy would be in a shower, as proscribed by Penal Code §647. The wiretap law in California prohibits recording a communication, which ordinarily refers to speech (thus precluding audio recording, but not necessarily precluding video recording). The courts have not found that video-only recordings of a person who is speaking to another person constitutes "recording a communication".

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .