General advice for Parents
If you are considering the installation of a nanny camera or if you already have one, you should also be aware of the laws surrounding the use of them. Whilst it’s lovely to be able to log in and see your loved ones at home while you are not with them, you should also be sure to follow the law and guidelines and respect the privacy of your nanny and other people likely to be filmed by the camera.
Like anyone else, your nanny has a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy. So as much as you feel the need to keep a close eye on your child when you are at work, you must also consider the privacy of your nanny or babysitter.
This applies even if the camera is for security purposes, not specifically to keep a lookout on your nanny’s activities.
NANNY CAMERAS – ARE THEY LEGAL IN THE UK?
It is generally legal to use nanny cameras and any kind of surveillance cameras inside your home. You are also allowed to install cameras outside your house for security purposes. But there are certain conditions set out by the Information Commissioner’s Office that you must adhere to:
1. INFORM YOUR NANNY
You must inform your nanny or babysitter of the presence of the surveillance camera either by telling them or putting up a sign. Don’t forget to also inform your family members. Telling your nanny that you have installed a surveillance camera can be difficult since they might take it as a sign that you don’t trust them. Try framing it as a positive thing for them, for example, if they were to be accused of something they didn’t do, the camera will offer clear evidence for them. If the camera is purely for security purposes, tell them this.
Make sure it is clear why you have a camera and how long you’ll hold on to the footage. According to UK law, you should only hold the footage for a reasonable period of time. The footage of your nanny is essentially their personal data, so you can only keep it as long as is reasonable. It would generally be a good idea to delete footage after 30 days.
You should appreciate that some nannies and/or babysitters may turn down the job when you inform them about the camera. Others may request that you only use the camera for a specific period of time, for example 1 or 2 months with a view to removing it, using it as a form of probation period.
2. EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY
You should never install a surveillance camera in places where the nanny has a reasonable expectation of privacy such as the bathroom or their own bedroom, where you have a live-in nanny. It is however, acceptable to install the nanny cameras in general areas like the living room, kitchen and porch.
3. USING THE FOOTAGE
You should only use the footage for the purpose for which you collected it. In this case, you are collecting the footage to ensure your child is safe. You are not entitled to use the footage for any other purpose beyond that and you should not pass it on to a third party including posting a frame or video footage on social media or share with friends or family. Because you are the one who collected the recording, you are responsible for it and it is you who will be liable if it ends up where it shouldn’t be.
If you catch your babysitter in a grievous incident you should contact the authorities or the nanny agency. Do not upload the footage or send it to a friend or family member to see. Don’t ever let anyone else see it as this could cause a legal issue for you. And you are not entitled as mentioned previously, to hold on to the footage indefinitely. Keep it only for as long as necessary, ideally 30 days.
WHAT ABOUT OUTDOOR CCTVS?
Outdoor CCTVs for home security are generally legal as well, albeit with some conditions. Just like with a nanny cam, you should inform anyone who may be caught on your security camera about its presence. This may include your family members, your neighbours as well as your nanny or babysitter. The easiest way to do that is to put up a sign saying that there is a CCTV camera around.
WHAT ABOUT AUDIO RECORDING?
It is not a criminal offence to record audio of your nanny at home. So you can go ahead and use a nanny camera that also has audio recording. The only problem arises if you share that recording. This again, is because it is someone else’s personal data in the hands of a third party without their consent. If you plan to record audio, only do so in general areas where there is less expectation of privacy. If your nanny or someone else believes that you violated their privacy, they could bring a civil claim against you and you could be sued for extensive damages.
This information is for general guidance regarding rights and responsibilities and is not formal legal advice as no lawyer-client relationship has been created. Note that the information was accurate at the time of publication but laws may have since changed.