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Nanny Cams & Privacy

Nanny Cams & Privacy


Nanny Cams have, undeniably, a positive impact on the safety of children under the supervision of hired caregivers. And as any review of articles and news reports will show, nanny cams fulfill another important role besides the very real benefit of protecting small children: protecting parents' peace of mind. Parentalfort level at leaving young children with a professional nanny or even a casual babysitter increases dramatically when they know the caregiver's behavior is being monitored. Some professional childcare services are beginning to install nanny cams. According to the web site of Tutor Time, a franchise childcare outlet, "classrooms are equipped with observation windows and security cameras." (tutortime) For childcare businesses like Tutor Time, the motivation for using surveillance cameras is probably mixed. Having the cameras in use is a great selling point for customerfort, and they serve the twofold purpose of watching over the children while also protecting thepany. For, just as a nanny cam can help prove misbehavior by hired help in the home, a videotape can be a powerful defense against unjust accusations of abuse leveled at professional providers. The cameras protect Tutor Time and similarpanies in two ways. Not only do they have a record of their safe and appropriate care, but management will be the first to know if one of their employees is, in any way whatsoever, behaving inappropriately - whethermitting a serious crime of abusing a child, or a petty one of, say, stealing supplies. Of course, some homeowners who install security cameras have discovered other crimes beingmitted - cleaning service personnel or maintenance workers caught on tape as they have stolen money or valuables. Without question, there's a lot to be said for the safety and security factor of home security systems like nanny cams. What about privacy issues, though? Is it an intrusion on anyone's right to privacy to be spied on in the workplace, even if that workplace is another individual's home? According to about's childcare page ( childcare.about cs/evaluations/bb/nannycam childcare.about cs/evaluations/bb/nannycam ), 15 states (see list below) prohibit recording someone's speech without his or her consent, but "using a hidden camera to record silent video" is legal in every state. And our question is, "Why not?" Most nannies are professionally trained and licensed, and the vast majority do their job well and honorably. Many, in fact, are accustomed to being watched at work, either while providing ongoing care in thepany of parents or in public when children are taken to the park or other activities. But what of the neighborhood teen who agrees to watch your five-year-old for per hour? Whether the reputation is deserved or not, teenagers are notoriously irresponsible. Doesn't it make sense to see - even at a remove and after the fact - whether or not they're doing their job? The fact is, there's a huge difference between invasive surveillance of your home by an outsider and your decision to surveille your own home to protect it from outsiders. It's really a question of trust: I hire you toe into my home to do a particular service, whether housecleaning, caring for my child, or fixing my furnace. That's what you're expected to do, and that's what I trust you to do. My home is now your workplace, no different from the 7-11 or any other business with security monitors. If you - the service provider - fulfill your part of the bargain, you shouldn't have any objection to being watched while you do the work. Is there, in fact, any real difference between my personal habit of watching a plumber or furnace repairman (and asking what are to him, no doubt, endless and irritating questions), and my neighbor's decision to monitor the same work by the same worker using a camera instead? Yes. The difference is slight, but real, but it can easily be overcome. The difference is the knowledge by the observed person that he or she is being observed. My plumber knows I'm there, watching, asking, monitoring his work, and giving him a headache; my neighbor's housekeeper probably does not know that she's under observation. The easiest way to eliminate concerns about privacy is to make no secret that a video camera is in use. Post a sign, or verbally inform the visitor that for security reasons your home is protected by a security camera system. Or place cameras in a visible location where they can be seen - but not tampered with. That solution raises the natural objection that informing people they're being watched will put them doubly on their guard to try to avoid detection. But you might be surprised; you might find that caregivers, maintenance workers (at least from reputablepanies), and housecleaners are glad, even relieved, to know that they can't be falsely accused! States in which it is illegal to record speech without a person's consent: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Originally published: vertexsecurity news ?id=38 vertexsecurity news ?id=38
Andrew Reed grew up in Asheville, North Carolina. He moved to New York in 1970, and following his undergraduate studies at Columbia University he became a marketing specialist with National Broadcasting and otherpanies. He returned to the WNC mountains in 1993, where he works as an editor, freelance writer, and marketing consultant. He operates a web-based editing and marketingpany, myowneditor myowneditor , and specializes in writing for web sites.

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