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Hidden cameras spy cameras and nanny cams with built-in microphones for audio recording FAQ

Do your hidden cameras come with internal built-in audio recording or have a microphone built-in?

Hidden cameras with microphones are illegal to possess in the USA. This is due to USA Federal Law Title 18 U.S.C § 2512 that prohibits "disguised" audio bugging devices. Therefore all PalmVID brand hidden cameras that are sold to the general public are "video-only" (no microphones or audio).

 To be clear ALL hidden cameras with audio are considered "disguised" audio devices that are specifically prohibited from being purchased or possessed by USA Federal Law Title 18 U.S.C § 2512 which can be viewed here:

Our PalmVID hidden cameras are only available with audio when special ordered from PalmVID for law enforcement use. All sales of disguised hidden cameras with built-in microphones are limited to approved USA Government Law Enforcement division customers only. Accredited Law Enforcement division customers please call (800) 618-7491 to order any disguised hidden cameras with microphones.

Do nanny cams, spy cameras, spy cams, or other covert surveillance cameras have built-in microphones?/h2>Any disguised cameras are considered to be the same as hidden cameras (see above).

Can external microphones be used with a hidden camera?

If you do your research and you believe that you can legally record audio in your situation then technically yes there are lots of ways that you could record audio using an external recorder. From old fashioned tape recorders to the latest smartphones tablets laptops and other devices there are plenty of ways to record audio.

In addition most Security DVR's, Security VCR's, regular VCR's (and virtually every other type of video recorder ever made) has separate Video and Audio inputs. Technically any video camera could be connected to the video input of the video recorder and a separate microphone could be connected to the audio input if your goal was to record both.

The main point to understand is that ANY video camera (regardless of the device) when used in conjunction with ANY type of microphone (built-in or external) will be subject to all Federal and State video recording and audio recording laws. In other words all video/audio consent recording laws will still apply. Do not attempt to record audio or video using any device without the proper consent of all parties based on the state you are in. Talk to a local attorney about your intended use before recording any audio or video if you are unsure of the laws in your area.

Do security cameras or other video cameras have built-in microphones?

Security cameras that are not disguised may have built-in microphones but most security cameras do not have built-in microphones.

It is also possible to use an external microphone with any security cameras or video cameras by connecting a microphone to the audio input of the video recorder.
Click Here to view microphones

What steps should be taken before recording audio or video?

Since the laws vary greatly by state it is very important know know your local laws. Talk to an attorney before purchasing any equipment and comply with all Federal State and Local laws and regulations. For businesses it is also recommended to post signs to inform the public that video security cameras and audio recording in use.


If you are planning on recording audio that picks up someone's voice along with the video using ANY video recording device including cell phone cameras, digital video cameras, older camcorders, etc then you need to comply with audio-recording "consent" laws too.

Federal and State audio recording "consent" laws are much more restrictive than video recording laws.

Recording audio conversations requires 1 or 2 party consent (varies by state). Other audio and video recording laws may apply.

Do your research and talk to an attorney before recording any audio or video if you are unsure if your use is legal.

Read more about audio and video recording consent laws here

Isn't audio recording needed for a Nanny Cam?

Many customers that contact us asking about audio are considering using a Nanny Cam.

  • Nanny cams with built-in audio are not legal to purchase or use due to Federal regulations regarding "disguised audio bugging devices"
  • Recording audio using other methods like external microphones or tape recorders would require the nanny's consent in many cases

If you still think you "need" audio for a Nanny Cam consider this:
1 Picture = 1000 words
1 Second of Video = 30 pictures (30 FPS)
That means each second of video is worth 30,000 words

We have sold thousands of video-only nanny cams to our customers over the years.

To evaluate your nanny the video is all that is needed. You will see from watching just a few days or sometimes just a few hours worth video if your nanny is a good care provider or not. The video will show if the nanny is attentive or not and their body language will show you everything you need to see. Audio simply is not needed for this purpose.

We believe that a nanny cam is the only way that you will find out the true level of care and job performance that your nanny provides to your children.

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