Are Hidden Granny and Nanny Cams Actually Legal?
Gregg Hollander | January 22, 2021 | Florida Law
Originally used to check up on child care providers without their knowledge, the “hidden nanny cam” has become a popular tool to protect against legal liability. In addition to keeping tabs on a nanny, they can be used to capture many types of incidents in the home. In fact, there are now so-called “granny cams,” used to detect elder abuse.
But, if you are thinking about installing a hidden camera in your Florida home, you should know that there are both benefits and legal risks to installing a hidden camera. An experienced attorney can help you understand the law if you are not in the state of Florida.
Hidden nanny cams can be legal to use in Florida, but there are some things you need to know before installing one.
Can Hidden Nanny Cam Footage Be Used in Court in Florida?
You may be wondering whether footage recorded by a hidden nanny cam can be used in court. The answer is: maybe. It depends on whether the recording captured video only or whether it also includes audio.
If a recording meets the requirements of Florida’s Security of Communications; Surveillance Act, it can be used in any civil case, including:
Before you install a hidden camera, you should know the law that applies and what your responsibilities are to notify persons whose likeness or voice may be captured by the device.
Should I Install a Hidden Camera That Records Audio?
Florida is an “all-party consent” state for audio recordings. This means that under Florida’s Security of Communications; Surveillance Act, you must have the consent of all parties to a conversation before you record it.
If you plan to install a camera in your home to protect your family, you should:
- Consider installing a hidden camera that records video only
- Give notice to parties that their voices may be recorded by hidden camera
- Be sure never to install a camera in a “private place.”
Even in your home, there are places where guests are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy.
A private place is one where a guest does not expect to be subject to audio or video recording. For example, you should never install a hidden camera in a bathroom, and hiding a camera in a guest bedroom is legally questionable, too.
What are the Legal Risks of Installing a Hidden Nanny Cam?
It is perfectly legal in all 50 states to install a hidden nanny cam that does not record audio. But that does not mean it is without legal risk. What are the legal risks of installing a hidden camera?
Installing a nanny cam that captures both video and audio could potentially lead to claims of the criminal act of video voyeurism. Even if you notify your nanny that you have a hidden camera in your home, you may not be able to control what the video captures. In any event, a resentful or vindictive person may make untrue claims if they know you have a camera, even if the camera only captured mundane scenes.
If you do inadvertently violate Florida law, criminal penalties are not the only consequences. Another risk is the claim of violation of privacy. A successful violation of privacy claim can entitle the claimant to damages like lost wages and emotional distress.
For internet-connected cameras, there are practical risks as well. Reportedly, hackers have been able to gain access to cameras mounted in children’s bedrooms. On occasion, they have been able to communicate with children using the camera’s microphone function. This is an entirely separate, but equally logical, reason to use a camera without audio capabilities.