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Hidden Camera Statutes

LEGAL  (E.G., NURSING HOME)

nursing home

ILLEGAL (E.G., RESTROOM)

covert recording

Generally speaking, it is  legal in the United States to record surveillance video with a hidden camera in your home without the consent of the person you’re recording.   But before you place a hidden camera or nanny cam in your home, bear in mind that in most states, it’s illegal to record hidden camera video in areas where your subjects have a reasonable expectation of privacy. In a private residence, these areas might include bathrooms and bedrooms (including a live-in nanny’s bedroom).

Also understand that  it’s illegal in the United States to record video (or audio) with “malicious intent.” Just because one follows all other laws governing covert surveillance in one’s state, that right is  waived once criminal behavior is involved.

State hidden camera statutes 

The laws of 13 states expressly prohibit the unauthorized installation or use of cameras in private places:

– Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Utah, installation or use of any device for photographing, observing or overhearing events or sounds in a private place without the permission of the people photographed or observed is against the law. A private place is one where a person may reasonably expect to be safe from unauthorized surveillance.

– Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota and Utah also prohibit trespassing on private property to conduct surveillance of people there. In most of these states, unauthorized installation or use of a hidden camera, or trespassing to install or use one, is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine. In Maine, the privacy violation is a felony. In Michigan, unauthorized installation or use of a hidden camera is a felony, punishable by a $2,000 fine and up to two years in prison.

Several states have laws prohibiting the use of hidden cameras only in certain circumstances, such as in locker rooms or restrooms, or for the purpose of viewing a person in a state of partial or full nudity.

In all situations, it is best to err on the side of caution and exercise ethical restraint.

BNI Operatives: Street smart, info savvy.

As always, be safe.

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