Last Updated on August 31, 2019
It doesn’t matter if you just want to protect your home, or you think your maintenance service people are stealing from you, opting for some kind of surveillance system is a good option. Even though a regular CCTV system might be the first line of thought, it’s not always the best solution.
To begin with, the fact that you have an obvious CCTV camera might indicate that you have something that is actually worth stealing in your home. You did go through the trouble of installing a CCTV system after all, didn’t you? Also, a potential thief may very well try to disable an obvious surveillance system. A hidden spy camera will solve this issue easily. Potential thieves won’t disable a system if they don’t know the system is in place, right?
Looking for the best spy camera? Take a look at our guide here.
Make sure you have the legal implications taken care of
The first question that pops into anyone’s mind when there’s a mention of “hidden cameras” and “surveillance” is whether it’s legal. The first thing to know is that generally, in the United States, it is legal to record surveillance video using a spy camera inside your home, without the consent of everyone you’re recording. This is one of the reasons why nanny cams are so popular nowadays.
However, as is with most of the laws nowadays, things aren’t so black and white. Before you use a spy camera in your home, a good thing to do is to inquire about the laws in your specific state. If you want to be sure, there’s nothing better than actually asking an attorney.
One thing that you absolutely must keep in mind is to make a difference between recording audio and recording video. All across the US, the laws and restrictions that deal with audio surveillance are much tougher than video surveillance laws. Both federal and state laws will require that you have at least a one-party consent to any kind of audio recording for phone calls and in-person conversations, for example. If there’s a private conversation you’re not a participant in, such as the case where two others are talking in your home, it is almost always illegal to record audio.
The other thing that you shouldn’t forget, which is common sense anyways, is recording areas where a subject might actually be reasonably expecting privacy. Not every state bans this actually, but you shouldn’t be assuming it is legal, much less morally acceptable to record any subject in a private area.
Last but not least, in the US it is illegal to record video, or audio, if your purpose is to blackmail the subject. Even if you were to follow all the laws regarding hidden surveillance in your home to the letter, all of your rights are actually waived the minute you engage in criminal behavior.
Spy camera instructions on where to set it up
If you want your spy camera to stay well hidden, it’s not just about putting it anywhere. Actually, the most important thing is to actually find a good spot for it. If you’re looking at one particular thing, you’ll want to think about where the behavior you’re monitoring is most likely to happen. The camera should point there, if it’s one, and you shouldn’t have any visual obstructions in the way.
If your main concern is someone breaking into your home, point it towards the doors and windows. If you suspect partner infidelity, you might want to hide a camera towards their vehicle – as putting one in the bedroom might be considered a breach of privacy. The most common one, worrying about how a nanny is treating your child, is solved by pointing a camera towards your child’s crib.
The next consideration is power. If, for example, you’re getting a battery-powered camera, this isn’t an issue. All you need to do is just hide it well. However, most good cameras will require a power supply of some kind to keep them running. This is a tricky situation. To begin with, the cable length and your power outlet availability will severely limit placement. To add to that, you also have a cable to hide if you don’t want your spy camera to be noticed.
You will also need to consider connectivity. Most of the cameras you’ll find for sale have a wireless way of connecting to your home network. This lets you access them live regardless of where you are, just as long as you have internet. Others, however, need an Ethernet cable to connect to your home network, so that’s another cable you’ll need to hide well. Storage is another “connectivity” thing, because if your camera doesn’t have built-in storage, you’ll need to connect it to your recording device, such as a DVR.
The last thing in terms of placement is to check whether your eye gets naturally drawn to where you’ve put your camera. If the place gets a lot of attention, someone noticing your camera is much easier than usual. A good tip is to put it way above, or below eye level, to avoid it being spotted easily. A way to check if you did a good job is to have someone actually look for the camera. If they can’t find it, even though they know it’s there, an unsuspecting someone will have a much harder time spotting it.
Wrapping up our spy camera instructions
As you can see, actually setting up a hidden spy camera isn’t all that easy. To begin with, you have legal implications and considerations to take care of. Once that’s out of the way, you’ll want to place it well. That’s why we’ve got the tips above, which should have you sorted out for just about anything.
Regardless of what kind of camera you chose, whether it’s wired or wireless, whether it has storage or not, and whether it’s an obvious camera, or one hidden in a teddy bear, you can make it inconspicuous. Just make sure you keep the things we spoke about above in mind, and you’ll be good to go.