Is it Illegal to Record People Without Consent? A Woman Filmed Going on a Profanity-Laced Rant at a Target Store In Georgia Thinks So.

A woman filmed at a Georgia Target going on a profanity-ridden outburst messaged a popular Atlanta-area social media account demanding the removal of the video, claiming it was unlawful to record it in the first place.

ATL Uncensored posted a video to their social platforms this week of a woman yelling and swearing at a few different customers in the self-checkout line of a Peachtree City Target. It’s unknown if someone affiliated with the outlet recorded the video.

Screenshots from video of a woman going on a profanity-laced tirade in a Peachtree City Target. (Photos: Twitter/ATL Uncensored)

It appears that the woman in question messaged the account privately to request that administrators take the video down, or she would sue for “defamation of character.” She claimed it’s illegal to film on private property in Georgia without the consent of the person(s) being recorded. She cited a state law as a rationale for the video’s deletion.


People in the comments were curious to know if her claim has legal standing. Is it indeed illegal to record videos of someone at a Target without their consent?

First, let’s cite the Georgia law she cited as justification for the video’s removal: State code § 16-11-62 (2).

That part of the code states that it is unlawful for “any person, through the use of any device, without the consent of all persons observed, to observe, photograph, or record the activities of another which occur in any private place and out of public view” with some stipulations.

The stipulation that one could argue applies to this recording would be, “Any person to go on or about the premises of another or any private place, except as otherwise provided by law, for the purpose of invading the privacy of others by eavesdropping upon their conversations or secretly observing their activities.”

However, is Target considered a “private place?”

Target retailers and its various commercial properties are operated by the Target Corporation, which allows public access to its stores and some of its facilities. Most of the company is owned by several investors and shareholders.

In this particular instance, Target Corp. is the chief party that could sue someone for recording on one of its properties if the company really wanted to.

However, the video was recorded in “public view,” which Georgia law dictates isn’t illegal. Also, if Target chose to track down and sue every person who recorded a video of customers in its stores, that would be a lengthy and protracted endeavor on its part. In addition, most stores have their own surveillance systems used to monitor activity inside and outside of their premises.

Some commenters noted that Georgia is a one-party consent state, meaning that a recording of a telephone or audio conversation taken by at least one person who was part of that conversation without the knowledge of the other involved parties is admissible in court. That law doesn’t apply to video recordings in private places. Again, Target is a store that invites large pools of the public into its retailers every single day, and the “public view” part of the Georgia code is still at play here.

Could the woman sue the social media account that posted the video of her? Sure. However, she couldn’t sue the platform for recording the video unless she had evidence that one of their employees filmed her.

In any case, the woman seen in the video might have to go through Target Corp. before all is said and done since the video was filmed in one of the company’s stores, which would likely prove to be a drawn-out process for her. The most she could probably do is make individual requests to social platforms like Instagram and Twitter to remove the videos. A lawsuit would be a prolonged and expensive procedure.

However, maybe one shouldn’t cuss people out in popular commercial stores like Target, knowing that everybody holds video-recording smartphones in their hands nowadays—light food for thought.

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