Are Nanny Cams Legal?

Written by kiya richter
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Are Nanny Cams Legal?
Nanny cams can be hidden in many everyday objects, such as stuffed animals or clocks. (teddy-bear image by Vitezslav Halamka from Fotolia.com)

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.

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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.

Warning

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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