LAWS AGAINST HIDDEN CAMERAS
CALIFORNIA BASED – SERVING STATES NATIONALLY!
ARE HIDDEN CAMERAS ILLEGAL
As private investigators and former Federal agents, we are routinely hired to perform bug sweeps of residences and businesses, in order to find hidden cameras and listening devices. One of the most common questions people ask us is when and where it’s illegal to place hidden cameras. Whether you are implementing your own security system, or if you work in an office where your company has a ton of security cameras installed, you may also be wondering the same thing. The laws regarding hidden surveillance are fairly similar across the United States.
In many states, it's generally legal to use hidden cameras in your own home, even if the camera is hidden, as long as its purpose is for security. However, cameras are typically not allowed in areas where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as bathrooms, bedrooms, or changing rooms. This expectation applies even within your own home.
On the other hand, installing hidden cameras in someone else's house without their consent is generally illegal and may lead to serious penalties. If you're wondering "is it illegal to put cameras in someone else's house?", the answer is typically yes. Respect for individual privacy is paramount in the eyes of the law, and any actions that violate this privacy are liable for prosecution.
ARE PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS WORTH IT?
If you’re seeking peace of mind, hiring a private investigator can help you get the answers you need. Whether you’re trying to locate a long-lost relative, conduct a workplace investigation, or determine if you are worried about Hidden Cameras, a private investigator can provide the resources and expertise to resolve your concerns.
IS IT ILLEGAL TO SET UP A HIDDEN CAMERA
The laws regarding hidden surveillance vary depending upon your location, but they are fairly similar across the United States.
Below is a general breakdown of when it is okay to use hidden surveillance & recording equipment and when you could be breaking the law.
As mentioned, the laws do differ from state to state, so research your state’s laws before you place any hidden cameras.
HIDDEN CAMERA LAWS IN THE U.S. STATES
While it’s generally legal to install a residential security camera and record video in the US, citizens are also guaranteed a reasonable expectation of privacy that includes video recording. Thus, recording people in private places such as bathrooms is prohibited. It’s crucial to understand the applicable laws to avoid any potential legal issues.
HIDDEN CAMERA LAW IN CALIFORNIA
In California, making a video recording of any confidential communication, even with consent, might be illegal. Meanwhile, Georgia allows video surveillance in private and public settings, but the cameras must be visible. It’s important to understand the laws in your state to ensure that your video recording is legal and ethical.
Can you have hidden cameras in your house
Hidden cameras are generally allowed in the US, as long as the rules for reasonable expectation of privacy and one-party consent are followed. Additionally, 11 out of 15 states with home security camera laws allow their use with certain conditions. It’s important to research and understand the specific laws and regulations in your state before installing any surveillance equipment.
Not too long ago, “nanny cams” made a huge splash among parents and anyone else who wanted to monitor their homes while they were away. These were cameras that were often hidden in teddy bears that were designed to let parents keep an eye on their babysitters.
In most states, these types of hidden cameras are legal to use in your home, even if you do not have the consent of the person being recorded.
It is generally not legal, as you likely would guess, to place a hidden camera into someone else’s home – even if your kid is being cared for there.
A REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY
When it comes to any hidden camera law, you are going to see the concept of reasonable expectation of privacy come up time and again. So if you’re placing a hidden camera in your home, or anywhere else, the people you are recording are generally to be given this level of privacy.
Hidden cameras are typically not legal to place in bathrooms or bedrooms where someone is staying, or any other place were people would assume that they would have a heightened level of privacy.
If cameras are used in these types of areas, such as when security cameras are placed in dressing rooms, the surveyors have an obligation to post notices alerting those being recorded to this fact.
See photos of some of the actual recording devices we’ve found in our bug sweeps right here.