Are Hidden Nanny Cams Actually Legal?

Of course concerned parents have a right to set up surveillance cameras to protect their children and their property, right? We’ve all seen the yard signs warning that “this home is protected” by security systems. 

But what about hidden cameras that record a babysitter or nanny? Can you legally install a hidden nanny cam in Florida? 

Maybe you have heard about this Jacksonville, FL couple starting a petition to legalize nanny cams and so you think that they aren’t legal. Maybe you saw where this 14-year-old Florida girl set up a hidden camera to catch abuse and you think that they’re perfectly legal. While it is entirely legal to set up a hidden camera in your home, there may be risks involved in recording video and audio when a nanny is working inside your home. 

The truth is that the legality of hidden nanny cams is a little complicated. There’s a difference between whether installing a camera is legal and whether you will be able to use the recording in court. 

Florida Law on Nanny Cams

If you are planning to install a hidden nanny cam, you should be aware of Florida’s Security of Communications; Surveillance Act. That’s because the Act does not allow a party to use audio recordings in court if they were created without the other party’s consent. If you go through the trouble of installing a nanny cam, you want to be able to use the recording in court! 

If you’re going to install a hidden nanny cam, you should: 

  • Consider installing a camera that records only video footage; and
  • Be sure not to install it in a “private place.”.

A private place is one where a person does not expect their communication to be captured by an audio or video recording device. One example of such a private place is a bathroom.

Importantly, if you plan to install a hidden nanny cam, you should consider installing one that records only video footage. In 2010, a Florida appeals court decided to allow silent video surveillance footage from a hidden camera to be used in court. 

Considering the Implications of Recording Audio and Video

What if you have a nanny cam that captures both audio and video? There are two potential unintended legal consequences from installing a hidden nanny cam that both captures audio and video.  

One is that you might violate Florida’s video voyeurism law and subject yourself to criminal charges. This is more likely if the camera is installed somewhere considered to be a “private place.” If you have a live-in nanny, their bedroom is likely to be considered to be a private place. 

The other legal risk is that you may be sued for a violation of the nanny’s privacy. A nanny who is recorded in violation of Florida law may hire a personal injury attorney and sue you for damages for the injury caused to them, like emotional distress. 

What if you are determined to install a camera with both video and audio recording features? In that case, you should let your nanny know about it. It’s best to let them know in writing and you do not have to let them know where the camera will be located. They only need to know that they may be captured by audio and video surveillance while in your home. 

Practical Risks of Having a Nanny Cam

You should also be aware of the practical risks of internet-connected nanny cams. Well-known brands of WiFi-connected cameras have reportedly been hacked. It can be very difficult to recover damages from bad actors like hackers, if you are even able to identify them. To best protect yourself and your children, set up stringent security for your camera management, including two-factor authentication and strong passwords.  

But what about hidden cameras that record a babysitter or nanny? Can you legally install a hidden nanny cam in Florida? 

Maybe you have heard about this Jacksonville, FL couple starting a petition to legalize nanny cams and so you think that they aren’t legal. Maybe you saw where this 14-year-old Florida girl set up a hidden camera to catch abuse and you think that they’re perfectly legal. While it is entirely legal to set up a hidden camera in your home, there may be risks involved in recording video and audio when a nanny is working inside your home. 

The truth is that the legality of hidden nanny cams is a little complicated. There’s a difference between whether installing a camera is legal and whether you will be able to use the recording in court. 

Florida Law on Nanny Cams

If you are planning to install a hidden nanny cam, you should be aware of Florida’s Security of Communications; Surveillance Act. That’s because the Act does not allow a party to use audio recordings in court if they were created without the other party’s consent. If you go through the trouble of installing a nanny cam, you want to be able to use the recording in court! 

If you’re going to install a hidden nanny cam, you should: 

  • Consider installing a camera that records only video footage; and
  • Be sure not to install it in a “private place.”.

A private place is one where a person does not expect their communication to be captured by an audio or video recording device. One example of such a private place is a bathroom.

Importantly, if you plan to install a hidden nanny cam, you should consider installing one that records only video footage. In 2010, a Florida appeals court decided to allow silent video surveillance footage from a hidden camera to be used in court. 

Considering the Implications of Recording Audio and Video

What if you have a nanny cam that captures both audio and video? There are two potential unintended legal consequences from installing a hidden nanny cam that both captures audio and video.  

One is that you might violate Florida’s video voyeurism law and subject yourself to criminal charges. This is more likely if the camera is installed somewhere considered to be a “private place.” If you have a live-in nanny, their bedroom is likely to be considered to be a private place. 

The other legal risk is that you may be sued for a violation of the nanny’s privacy. A nanny who is recorded in violation of Florida law may hire a personal injury attorney and sue you for damages for the injury caused to them, like emotional distress. 

What if you are determined to install a camera with both video and audio recording features? In that case, you should let your nanny know about it. It’s best to let them know in writing and you do not have to let them know where the camera will be located. They only need to know that they may be captured by audio and video surveillance while in your home. 

Practical Risks of Having a Nanny Cam

You should also be aware of the practical risks of internet-connected nanny cams. Well-known brands of WiFi-connected cameras have reportedly been hacked. It can be very difficult to recover damages from bad actors like hackers, if you are even able to identify them. To best protect yourself and your children, set up stringent security for your camera management, including two-factor authentication and strong passwords.