Hidden Cameras and Nanny Cams: Devices for Covert Monitoring

Hidden camera
Spy Camera Pen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What is a Hidden Camera?

A hidden camera is a still or video camera used to capture video footage of people without their knowledge or consent. The camera is “hidden” because it is not visible to the filmed subject or disguised as another object. 

Hidden cameras have become famous for conducting household surveillance. They can be built into everyday household objects such as smoke detectors, clock radios, motion detectors, ball caps, plants, and cell phones. In addition, companies use concealed cameras as security devices to catch thieves and even dishonest employees.

If you want to skip directly to viewing products, I recommend checking out the nanny cams available at the Home Security Superstore to purchase a device.

Wired or Wireless?

A hidden camera can be wired or wireless. A wired covert camera will be connected to an electrical outlet, a television, or a Digital Video Recorder (DVR). Also, older setups may include a Video Cassette Recorder (VCR).

A wireless camera can transmit a video signal to a receiver within a small radius (up to a few hundred feet).

Some secretive camera footage has led to lawsuits by the people trapped in set-ups that they found unpleasant. For example, Hulk Hogan was involved in a lawsuit with Gawker, which released video footage of the star having sex.

Types of Video Surveillance Equipment

Nanny Cams?

Nanny cams, or nanny cameras, are typically covert cameras that allow parents to secretly monitor and videotape the activity of a person or persons. They are most often used to observe the behavior of a nanny, caregiver, or a babysitter. These types of video surveillance cameras are becoming more popular as they are used to provide proof of abusive caregivers such as nannies and babysitters.

Nanny cameras come in various types with a wide range of features.  Most cams are wireless video devices but are also available in hardwired format. The equipment device is usually concealed in everyday household items such as teddy bears or stuffed animals, clock radios, computer speakers or stereo speakers, carbon monoxide detectors, smoke alarms, and air purifiers.

They are also disguised as outdoor items, such as rocks and plants. The idea is to conceal the presence of the recording device by making it look just like a regular household item.

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Private investigators may use such equipment during civil investigations when a caregiver’s behavior has been called into question. Detectives should first check their state and local laws that govern using hidden video.

In cases where parents are suspicious and need proof, having a nanny cam allows parents to have peace of mind when they leave their child alone with a caregiver or a babysitter.

Other Possible Uses

These hidden video surveillance cameras can be used for reasons other than child care. Parents can use remote recording devices to monitor the activity of their teenage children (they are having a party while they’re away on vacation) to watch their house. At the same time, it is being cleaned for security reasons.  Some real estate investors use surveillance cameras to monitor their rental properties and vacation homes.

Currently, in all 50 states, using a remote video device is legal. However, it is illegal to record speech without a person’s consent in the following states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

Please note that laws that pertain to device usage change frequently, so please check your local and state laws to determine the legality of using a secret video device and recording speech to record the activities of others.

Where to Buy Equipment

The Home Security Superstore has an extensive selection of covert cameras, nanny cams, and video surveillance equipment for private investigators. In addition, they have devices for law enforcement and everyday people to help monitor the activity of another person.

Record Secret Video With a WiFi Tissue Box Hidden Camera

This Hidden Cam Fits Any Room Decor and Blends Right In While It Records Covert Video. The WiFi Tissue Box Camera is a secret video recording option that looks like a standard tissue box. Although sold separately, it captures 64 hours of full-color, high-resolution video on a 32-gigabyte SD memory card.

The device can even record video footage in low-light conditions, which is great for darker rooms. The recording device has a 10-hour rechargeable battery. The 10-hour battery lasts quite a long time, as the power is only used to begin recording when it is motion-activated.

Why is this a Good WiFi Hidden Cam?

  • It looks exactly like any other typical tissue box on your table, so it will likely go unnoticed, even by the pros.
  • The devices record video files on a single battery charge for up to ten hours.
  • WiFi technology enables you to view all captured video footage remotely.
  • The device captures crystal-clear video in as low as .001 Lux

How to View Captured Footage

Viewing your recordings can be done in multiple ways. The device can be a standard DVR, recording your files to an SD card for later review on your computer.

Insert the SD card into the camera, then connect the device to your laptop or computer. Then, you’ll be able to view the recorded video files. You are also given the option of watching the feed remotely from the device’s built-in WiFi receiver.

The camera can be used to:

  • Protect your home or office from dishonest employees or thieves. Place the device in a common area to capture employee activity and get the proof you need to identify theft or fraudulent activity
  • Monitor your bedroom for burglars, dishonest children visitors, or maybe even a cheating spouse
  • Watch the kids when no one is home to ensure they are safe. The device will give you peace of mind when you can’t be in the same room as your children.
  • Monitor the babysitter or nanny to see if they follow the rules and keep your child safe.

More Information / Question

If you have any questions or comments, please post them below.

For related articles, check out the article Spy Gear for Private Investigators.


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Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including eInvestigator.com. Michael created eInvestigator.com more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at Amazon.com.


  1. is there a way for anyone to install a hidden spy cam on a old TV none smart or any other electronics? if so how can you find out if I’ve become a victim .

  2. I’ve been researching this subject for about two weeks at this point and this is actually the 1st write-up that actually makes perfect sense. How come it’s so difficult to gather quality facts concerning security and safety nowadays? Definitely value the time you invested placing your ideas in to words so novices like myself can certainly take action. Will there be a part 2 on your page? Thank you again!


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