What Is a Nanny Cam?
Can I Legally Install a Nanny Cam in My Home?
It is currently legal in every state to make a video-only recording of anything happening at your home, at any time, without informing anyone. The fact that the camera is hidden has no effect on this concept. If your camera is video only (no sound is recorded), then you can do whatever you like with it, in your own home (but be careful about accidentally recording things beyond that, like the street in front of your yard).
You should be careful to note, however, that since most nanny-cams are wireless cameras, which transmit from the camera to a base (usually a television or computer), the signals can easily be intercepted. Unless the camera is very sophisticated and includes some form of signal scrambling, the camera’s images can be picked up quite easily from up to a quarter-mile away with very basic equipment.
This is all the more disturbing because there is little to no law against this sort of interception. Current wire-tapping laws only provide protection for audio wiretapping, so quite literally anyone with the desire and $200 worth of equipment could use your own camera to spy on your house with legal impunity.
I’ve Been Videotaped Without My Knowledge – Can the Tape Be Used in Court?
The courts are split over this issue, but most states are leaning toward allowing it to be entered as evidence. While many states have laws regulating the taping of someone in an area where they have an expectation of privacy, most agree that you cannot have such an expectation in a home that isn’t yours. Obviously, there are some exceptions to this rule (your employer cannot put cameras in a bathroom that he expects others to use), but in general, he can film anything in his home, including you, and can later use it in court.