Stephen Hasner | Georgia Law | February 29, 2020
Caretakers are often needed to help busy parents take care of their children. It may be a part-time babysitter or it could be a live-in nanny. Having someone watch your kids while you are not in the house can raise some fears. In order to combat this, many parents turn to the use of nanny cameras to observe what happens when they are gone.
There are several news stories of hidden cameras catching caretakers abusing children. While no child should ever face abuse, it is good to know that it is going on so you can stop it and the abusers can be criminally prosecuted. What are the rights of parents who want to use cameras to monitor caretakers? Can you record or photograph people in your home without their consent? Are hidden nanny cameras legal in private homes? In Georgia, nanny cams are legal. However, it is still illegal to record someone without their consent in a space that is presumed to be private, like the bathroom.
Nanny Camera Basics
Nanny cameras, also known as nanny cams, are a form of in-home video surveillance. They are installed by parents and legal guardians to monitor the nannies, babysitters, and caretakers that are hired to take care of children. They can also be used to observe people who are house sitting, watching a pet, or even cleaning or doing work on your house while you are gone.
The technology for nanny cams has changed dramatically over the past few years. The old cliché of hiding a camera in a teddy bear in the child’s room is no longer needed. Cameras are smaller and can be hidden more easily. These are generally referred to as hidden or spy cameras. Many caretakers also know that there is a chance they could be recorded while watching children in the home. Types of exposed cameras include baby monitors or indoor security cameras.
Some cameras also allow the possibility to live stream what is going on in your house through an app on your phone. You can simply open the app and check the cameras in your house to see what is currently going on. These cameras also feature the ability to record and talk live through the camera to anyone who is near the device in the house.
Nanny Camera Laws
The installation of a nanny camera in a private home is legal in all 50 states. While these can be used to monitor your children and caretakers, there are more specific state laws that restrict how much you can record. While several states do not have any video surveillance laws, some do. Those that do, generally forbid recording of caretakers in areas they expect to be private. This would include bathrooms or a bedroom if they are a live-in nanny.
While recording video through a nanny cam is legal in all states, there are different laws for recording audio. Some states have a one-person consent rule. This means that at least one person who is being recorded must have knowledge of the recording and give consent to be recorded. The parent making the recording is not able to give consent for the caretaker. This means that if you record audio of someone in your home without their consent, you will be breaking the law. However, if you are talking to someone on the video, this would be consent and that footage would be considered legal.
If you are in any of the states with stricter rules, an obvious way to make sure you don’t break any surveillance laws is to let your caretaker know that you have cameras in the house and they may or may not be recorded while there. You should also mention that the recording might be video or audio. It would also be advisable to tell them that there are no cameras in the bathroom or any other private areas of the house.
Nanny Camera Laws in Georgia
Georgia does have some stricter laws on recording people in your house. These can be found in Title 16, Chapter 11, Article 3 of Georgia’s state law code. It is illegal to photograph or record someone without their consent in a private place. The private place is defined as somewhere that is out of view from the public. This does not mean that you cannot use a nanny cam in Georgia. Rather, it means that it is illegal to record them in areas of your home that expected to be private – like the bathroom.
Georgia laws are also strict about recording neighbors in the privacy of their own homes. You are allowed to record and take photographs of your property or to have a camera outside. However, it is not legal to use those cameras to monitor the inside of your neighbor’s home. Make sure that any cameras you use are not accidentally recording the inside of anyone else’s home.