Hidden Cameras: When Are they Illegal to Use?

Hidden surveillance cameras have made a huge impact on how to prevent crime in our businesses and homes. Unfortunately, the use of a hidden camera is not always done with deterring crime. There are some who would use hidden camera surveillance for more nefarious reasons. For this, there are laws in place that protect citizens from being illegally filmed.
It’s not always easy to know what those laws are or when the use of hidden cameras is illegal. Here, we will break it down for you, answering the question, “When are hidden cameras illegal to use?”

It’s illegal to place hidden cameras in someone else’s home.
Nanny cams are wildly popular, especially among those with children. Of course they want to monitor their children to make sure that the person they’ve entrusted their children with are taking proper care of their most prized possession. Nanny cams are often placed in teddy bears or other toys or stuffed animals to keep an eye on babysitters.

Nanny cams or hidden surveillance cameras are legal to use in most states, but they are only legal to use within your own home. You cannot insert a camera in someone else’s home, even if they are babysitting your child in their home. This includes cameras hidden in your child’s stuffed animals and toys.

It’s illegal to place hidden cameras in bedrooms and bathrooms, and dressing rooms.
Hidden cameras are illegal in places are deemed to have a reasonable expectation of privacy: bedrooms, bathrooms, dressing rooms. You can place hidden cameras in your home, but guests in your home are expected to be granted a reasonable amount of privacy to bathe, get dressed or change clothes.

Where can you use hidden cameras?
You can use hidden cameras or visible surveillance cameras in public places in most states. There are, however, caveats.

Public Places
People essentially give up their privacy when they go out into public. If there are cameras in public restrooms, locker rooms, or other similar places it is against the law for those cameras to be hidden.

Place of Employment
The workplace has the same rules for hidden camera surveillance as the home and public places. In most states, employers are allowed to place hidden cameras throughout the workplace. However, most employers choose to place the cameras in visible areas to encourage employees to be on their best behavior.

Of course, we all want to be safe and we want to protect our loved ones and property. Using video camera surveillance is a great step toward deterring theft, vandalism, and other crimes. But you have to be careful where and how you go about installing surveillance cameras. If you have hidden cameras throughout your home, it’s good practice to make sure that they do not cover areas that are considered to be reasonably private. Caution is always advised.

Remember, even though it’s legal in many states to use hidden cameras, it’s not legal to use hidden cameras in someone else’s home. When in doubt, contact the video surveillance experts at Video and Sound Inc. We can answer any questions you may have about camera installation and more.