What are some common uses for hidden cameras (also called spy cameras?)
You might be surprised.
Having a hidden camera can be used to monitor events and individuals when you are not around.
It lets you have a true picture of what is going on.
Is spying on someone with a hidden camera legal? Aren’t these things considered spy gadgets?
It depends on the circumstances and local laws.
There are many instances where you are well within your rights to employ hidden camera technology.
We’ll talk about those surveillance uses.
Hidden Cameras for Home Security
Having a video camera is a basic necessity for home security. It provides a record of what occurred, and when.
Many of these cameras have special features as well, such as audio recording and motion detection activation. Motion detection is effective to maximize battery life and to ensure you don’t have hours of video of nothing happening.
But specifically, a hidden camera let’s you observe events without altering the behavior of those whom you are recording.
A visible camera can be a theft and crime deterrent. A hidden camera will let you see events as they would unfold without known surveillance.
Having a stealthy recording of what has happened can:
- Provide evidence to prosecute criminals
- Provide an undeniable proof of the comings and goings of a family member
- Assist in the identification of a criminal
- Help document loss of equipment or property for insurance purposes
A particularly effective camera setup for home security might leverage both visible and hidden cameras.
An obvious camera may cause a criminal to drop their guard – and in their attempt to avoid it to actually be in plain view of the hidden camera.
Nanny Cams or Nanny Cameras
Families that employ nannies and other caretakers for their children may wish to surveil the behavior of those caretakers.
That’s the purpose of a nanny cam.
It’s a covert camera designed for indoor use. It should be inconspicuous and disguised as an object one would expect in the presence of small children – such as a teddy bear, a clock radio, or even an indoor house plant.
The benefit of this type of hidden camera is to capture someone’s true behavior.
You want them to act as though nobody was watching.
And even if nothing improper is going on – the nanny camera can give you the peace of mind you require knowing that your child’s safety is in place.
Please be aware that in the United States – there are strict laws around audio recording – and several states outlaw nanny cams with audio recording capabilities.
We recommend you familiarize yourself with local laws before attempting to use any of this sort of equipment.
Monitoring Employees in Businesses
Employee theft and improper use of resources can be a problem for any business – big or small.
Theft of inventory or company assets is a problem all businesses deal with.
And businesses have a right to protect their property and assets.
Strategically placed hidden cameras (“security cameras”) can help identify perpetrators and provide the necessary evidence for legal action, or dismissal of the employee.
In this particular use case, you may find that you get much of the benefit of this from employees simply knowing they are under surveillance, and as such a overtly visible camera may be a better option.
But on the other hand, criminals and others may not be deterred by this – especially if expensive valuables are involved.
In that case, a hidden camera may provide much the same benefits as one would for home security: helping to identify perpetrators, helping to document loss of assets, and helping to provide evidence for criminal prosecution.
Another benefit of the hidden camera in the workplace – it might help record events related to accidents and other investigations.
In this regard, these workplace cameras can be used to monitor multiple kinds of employee behavior.
Spousal Cheating or Infidelity
A spy camera might be the right device to discover a cheating spouse – or other extra marital affair.
In these circumstances, the perpetrator is knowingly adjusting their behavior when they are under observation.
And therefore a hidden camera is needed to “catch them in the act”.
The recordings of the camera can help provide peace of mind – or undeniable evidence if needed when confronting the spouse.
Much like the nanny cam, these devices can be disguised as a variety of common objects.
This is thanks to the miniaturized cameras available through modern technology.
In a For Hire Vehicle or other Conveyance
Many taxis and other “for hire” vehicles use video cameras to ensure the safety of the cab drivers.
This provides all the same benefits of a security camera in any other situation – it’s a deterrent to illegal activity – but if that does occur it can provide evidence to help arrest and prosecute the perpetrator.
How is this changing with ride sharing services such as Lyft and Uber?
Uber regulations allow drivers to “install and use video cameras to record riders for purposes of safety.”
As such, there may be a covert (or overt) camera in your next uber.
A video camera recording can be especially helpful in these circumstances – as drivers often have to deal with unruly or intoxicated passengers.
This can be a safety concern as much as a crime concern.
Lastly, a camera can help protect the driver from false accusations.
Hidden Cameras in Airbnb?
Airbnb is a popular way for people to rent a temporary house or room – for business or vacation.
Airbnb allows hosts to have security cameras and other recording devices.
However, they ask that these security and recording devices be disclosed to guests.
Further, they do not allow these devices in private spaces such as bathrooms and bedrooms – whether they have been disclosed or not.
We’d recommend you do a quick sweep of any airbnb you rent to look for anything unusual – because just about anyone can be an airbnb host.
Recording Meetings and Interactions
With today’s miniaturized camera technology it’s possible to fit a camera in an object as small as a pen – or even smaller.
As such, a hidden camera of this type might be used to stealthily record a business meeting or other transaction.
With that in mind, there are some cautions about using hidden cameras.
Where You Should Not Use Hidden Cameras
Never use a hidden camera in any area where individuals would have an expectation of privacy.
This includes bathrooms, changing rooms and locker rooms, bedrooms, and other people’s residences or living quarters.
This sort of use of hidden cameras is nearly always illegal (not to mention immoral) in almost all cases.
Common Uses of Hidden Cameras – In Summary
There are may practical uses for hidden cameras.
They can be used in both the home and the workplace to provide safety, security, and an undeniable record of events.
However, be sure to familiarize yourself with local laws and ensure you are using hidden cameras in a legal way.