Legal Hotline - Invasion of Privacy
Because the law is constantly evolving, it is important before relying
upon any opinion on this website that you check with the hotline counsel
to ascertain whether or not there has been any subsequent change or
supplementation to the law since the date of the opinion.
Answers provided by
Nov. 12, 2003
If a school bus carries video cameras, are the tapes available to
the public when an incident takes place on the bus?
Probably not. Federal law prohibits school districts from releasing
information about specific students. Since any such tape would
permit identification of the students, the school district would
probably be prohibited from releasing the tape. If the matter later
results in a trial open to the public and the tapes are introduced
into evidence, they would be available under the Rules of Court.
Feb. 27, 2003
May a person tape record a conversation without the permission of
the other person?
If the conversation takes place entirely in New Jersey, then the
consent of only one person is necessary. If the conversation is
inter-state, then both persons must consent.
Oct. 17, 2002
Are there any statutes or regulations prohibiting newspapers from
photographing minors at school?
A school may ban persons from school property if those persons have
no school business. But if the photographer is on public property or
properly attending a public event at the school, there is no
prohibition on taking photographs.
Oct. 10, 2002
The newspapers obtained verbal confirmation that the parents of
youths shown in a photo submitted by an independent photographer had
given permission for publication of the photo. Is verbal
confirmation sufficient or is the newspaper required to obtain
Written permission is always preferable but verbal confirmation is
March 19, 1998
May an article include a quote of information contained on a person's answering machine?
Ordinarily publication of personal information of a private citizen, wherever obtained, might subject the newspaper to an invasion of privacy action for disclosure of private facts. However, if the person has become a public figure and the message is related to a newsworthy event with which the public figure is associated such a suit is unlikely and would be defensible. In either event the best procedure is to secure the person's permission to use the information.
The Hotline is operated by
General Counsel, Tom Cafferty of Gibbons P.C.
Cafferty has served in this capacity for more than 30 years and has
extensive First Amendment and communication law expertise. The Hotline
is available to all publications that are active members of the New Jersey
To reach the Hotline:
(973) 596-4863 The regular hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through
Friday, but callers may leave a recorded message 24 hours per day on a
dedicated voice-mail line. The Hotline attorneys will return all calls
as soon as possible.
NJPA Legal Hotline, c/o Gibbons P.C., One Gateway Center, Newark, NJ