Are Nanny Cams Legal?

All parents wonder how the nanny treats the baby after they leave. Parents considering installing a nanny cam may question the legality of secret filming. Footage obtained illegally cannot be used in a court of law and could result in criminal charges.

Federal Laws

According to federal law, hidden cameras or "nanny cams" may legally record in public areas of a residence. However, nanny-cam recording may not take place in rooms where a person holds an "expectation of privacy." These areas include bathrooms and personal bedrooms, if the nanny resides in the household.

State Statutes

The First Amendment Handbook website reports that 13 states enforce laws that prohibit nanny cams in areas of expected privacy: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Utah. Statues in several other states forbid nanny cams in areas where a person would be recorded in full or partial nudity.


Nanny cams cannot record audio. According to federal law, only law enforcement may record audio in a covert manner. Therefore, no one except law enforcement may purchase a hidden camera or nanny cam that records audio.

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About the Author

Kiya Richter started writing in 2001. Her work has appeared in the fall 2009 edition of “Kiosk Magazine.” She received her bachelor’s degree in creative writing from the University of Kansas in 2009.