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We have all heard of micro-cameras. They were once thought to have been used by that mysterious agency of spies that everyone used to think was a myth. However, over the past five years, more and more people are buying these tiny cameras.

Years ago these cameras were used by owners of small businesses and office workers but now they are prevalent within homes. By installing these cameras within the home, the homeowners feel safer and more secure within their homes.

Experts in the technology field say that the micro-camera phenomenon is liable to endure for years to come. Of course, huge changes and supplementary progressive aspects will be part of its advancements.

Because of the hype over the cameras and their benefits, people are constantly looking for more features. These cameras act like another pair of eyes when you are not at home as well as perform many tasks at one time such as recording audio, scanning faces, and picture-taking.

This article will go over all the benefits and its uses in protecting everyday people even the police and paramedics.

Investigation and protection made easy

Its tiny size

The micro-cameras tiny size comes in handy if you need a hidden surveillance camera placed in a place where no one knows that they are being watched. When you need to see how your employees are performing their work, these cameras are great.

Nanny cams are a type of micro-camera.

Affordability

Because of the high demand for micro-cameras, the prices have decreased. As a result, these cameras are now starting to be more and more affordable, thereby encouraging more people to make use of the item.

Another significant thing about this item is it usually has more new features that make users feel they are paying less than what they are getting

Great features

Micro-cameras have been developing at a substantial rate for the last five years and leading to more features for users to benefit from. These features include:

  • Night Vision
  • Durability
  • Built-in audio recorders
  • Mobile application compatibility

These features and more are present in any vital micro-camera guide.

Body cameras are worn by police and paramedics

Micro-cameras are worn by the police and paramedic personnel to ensure that they are safe. But that is not all that micro-cameras can do for the police and paramedics.

Cameras are worn by the police, unlike many other forms of police technology, and serve both public liability and a law enforcement function. They are useful for recording police misconduct and their use of force and the footage can be used to survey both people the police interact with and those that do not realize that they are being filmed.

However, if the cameras use facial recognition, thousands of police officers wearing the cameras could document locations, deeds, and words of the people at a certain time, thereby causing concerns with the First and Fourth Amendments.

How body-worn cameras work

The cameras the police use are small and can be clipped onto their uniform or even as a headset. The cameras are then turned on to record audio and video of encounters between the people and law enforcement.

This video footage is saved with the time and date stamps of the encounter and the  GPS coordinates as well. Some even offer streaming of real-time video and Bluetooth trigger selections for programmed recording.

Some groups select how the body cameras will turn on without the officer pushing the button to record such as when the lights or sirens of the police vehicle turn on or when any dashboard cameras or other body cameras are turned on nearby.

Data collected from micro cameras

The body-worn micro-cameras collect audio and video of any police/public encounters with the time and date of the encounter and the GPS coordinates and usually takes pictures of a person’s face to run through facial-recognition software to see if the person has a criminal record.

Law enforcement usage of  body-worn micro-cameras

The cameras are used to collect information when the officer:

  • Decides to stop and pat down someone
  • Conducts a car chase or stops a car
  • Handles an interview with a witness or suspect
  • Searches a person’s property
  • Issues a court-appointed summons
  • Or arrests someone

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights 2016 issued a comprehensive scorecard that compared the wide discrepancies in body-worn camera procedures across the county. Some police departments have easily accessible policies and limit the officers on what they should or should not record while others do not.

Some even address concerns with personal privacy, prohibit the officers’ pre-report viewing, limit the recollection of footage, allow the filing of an individual’s complaints about accessing the footage, protect the footage from being tampered with or misused, or limit biometric technology usage.

According to this data, forty-three out of sixty-eight police departments in big cities like La Vegas and Los Angeles have policies of body-worn camera programs in place, with twenty-four with the policies easily available on their department websites for the public.

Problems with cameras worn by police

Police entering a citizen’s home with the body-worn micro-camera will pick up video and audio footage of domestic violence or sexual assault victims and footage of children or people who are undressed. Some police department policies protect defenseless individuals from being recorded without their consent, while others only have vague guidance on personal privacy issues.

However, some policies do not focus on these concerns at all. If the police have the choice in deciding which encounters to record and when to turn off cameras, this can sidestep the supervision the cameras are meant to supply.

For example, the police often neglect to turn on the cameras when on certain types of stops or during certain encounters especially when they are given the option to do so. Their failure in turning on the cameras during any incidents involving the use of force does not always result in penal action.

Some of the body-worn camera systems permit police to edit or even delete the footage stored especially footage of misconduct by the officers. For example, when officers were accused in 2010 of beating a student of the University of Maryland the video evidence was not given to the attorneys in response to a court-ordered subpoena and then the actual beating of the student was found to have disappeared.

There are even other incidents in Utah and Texas in which some footage was never taken. Many police departments permit officers to review the footage before giving their written reports or talking to investigators, giving them a chance to modify their stories to what is shown on the video evidence, and even help their fellow officers to lie.

Because of this practice, officers could easily fish for additional crimes to pin on the civilians they stop. In the meantime, the accused civilians more often than not are unable to view the footage before making their preliminary statements.

Body-worn micro-cameras worn by paramedics

After the shocking events in Ferguson, Missouri back in 2015, the use of body-worn micro-cameras worn by thousands of police officers in many police departments nationwide became prevalent. Soon the question of paramedics wearing these cameras came to the forefront.

The enhanced technology and its low cost undoubtedly make body cameras a feasible option for many EMS groups. While there are many benefits to using them, there are risks of legalities as well.

Micro-cameras that are worn on the body help to improve the “accountability and transparency” key phrase that EMS groups follow. As EMS professionals they have an agreement to be responsible to the public, their agency, coworkers, and, most importantly, the patients they serve.

Their patients always deserve their best efforts one hundred percent all the time and many see body camera usage as an efficient way to help keep that effort at one hundred percent.

Advantages of micro cameras

A body micro-camera provides a category of direction that is frequently missing in EMS (Emergency Medical Service(s)). EMS groups do not have the extravagance of sending a director on every call.

When you are being watched by an important person, it is just human nature to act better. Laziness, bad attitudes, burnout, and fatigue all lead to poor handling of the patient. This is less likely to occur when the EMS is being recorded.

In addition to strengthening liability, body cameras are effective tools in improving quality, providing a direct visual and audio record of an encounter with a patient.

As a vast worry for providers of EMS assistance, scene safety is enhanced through body camera usage. There may be fewer assault cases and/or other hostile behavior by the patients as people, patients, and citizens become more mindful when public safety providers wear body cameras.

Legal advantages and disadvantages

You can see many advantages and disadvantages when you look at the use of body cameras from a legal perspective. Body cams provide an outstanding record in case you are questioned by a patient and anyone else about your actions on the scene.

Video recordings are an important defense in misconduct claims, violations of protocol, or carelessness. Though potentially negative, these recordings can help avoid protracted litigation if the EMS provider’s conduct was shown to be improper or mistakes were made.

Privacy of patients & HIPAA

Using body cameras brings substantial concerns over patient privacy. However, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, does not prohibit recording patients during routine encounters.

The recordings of a body camera are normally used for the treatment of patients (documenting the patient’s condition, the reason for the injury, and so forth) and the quality assurance purposes or “healthcare operations”. HIPAA does not need the authorization of a patient when collecting and using their information for the purposes mentioned above.

While the act of creating the video and appropriately using it for treatment and QA reasons is not the problem, the biggest concern is what to do with the files after the patient is properly treated.

Under the HIPAA security rule, body camera recordings would probably contain protected health information (PHI) that must be safeguarded, meaning there should be defenses such as unique passwords and user names in place to guarantee that only official employees have access to the recordings.

The recordings should be backed up, stored at a substantially protected local and properly disposed of when the administration is ready to destroy them. Lastly, all recordings should be encoded wherever possible, whether they are stored nearby or on a cloud server.

The longer the recording is stored, the longer it will be susceptible to improper use or disclosure:

If the data is breached if not properly stored, then you could lose everything!

EMS groups need to consider keeping the recordings for only a short time as measured in weeks, not months or years). A strict policy should be in place that defines how long the footage will be kept, the means by which they are kept and who will have access to the footage, and for what reason.

Police and fire departments that provide emergency services in terms of ambulances are not protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.  So HIPAA may not apply to them. However, the HIPAA does pertain to the other huge majority of EMS groups.

State law protection from “invasion of privacy”

Along with the federal HIPAA regulations, there are state laws in every state that are against “invasion of privacy” or “intrusion upon seclusion” that may also regulate the use of body cameras.

The key to minimalizing the probable invasion of privacy claims is by lowering the patient’s expectancy of privacy and letting the patient know that you are documenting the event for treatment or quality assurance purposes.

This expectation of privacy is elevated in the patient’s home and much worse on a public street or in the back of the ambulance. Unless the patient gives permission, the EMS agencies who wish to use body cameras will want to prevent any recording in their home.

Keeping the patient informed, such as vocally notifying the patient about the use of the body camera, or wearing a uniform that says “Body Camera in Operation” or something similar, will help diminish the expectancy of privacy and minimalize risk.

Essential comprehensive operational policies

There will be operative nuisances if your agency decides to employ body cameras. You must acquire a clear and sensibly crafted strategy on their proper use, and edification of the staff is unquestionably crucial.

A vital policy deliberation is to clearly and empirically define when the body camera should be activated, to minimalize user discretion due to prejudice or other factors. Consider allotting a news release and applying other public education strengths to advise the public body cameras are being used, this can help lessen expectancies of privacy and improve public understanding and acceptance.

One major key to evading risk and liability with body camera usage is to defend and secure the video files after the video recording is made. Severe policies on storage, suitable use, and obliteration of the video files are unconditionally significant.

The conundrum is fighting human nature (and curiosity) when members of the staff know a body camera was utilized in a unique or fascinating patient encounter. The last thing you want is footage ending up on social media thereby violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) or other laws pertaining to privacy, and spelling drawbacks, and substantial damage to your EMS agency’s reputation.

To put it briefly, each state’s laws differentiate broadly when it comes to formulating audio recordings of others. Public EMS groups need to be chiefly concerned with laws that control citizen access as this footage can be thought to be public records. Requesting skilled legal counsel is clearly critical before placing body cameras in the field.

As our technology evolves, EMS companies need to consider new devices and how they can be used best to achieve the most quality care presented to the patient, as well as for the patients’ and EMS staff’s safety. Scrupulous negotiation of all the advantages and disadvantages that should take place and legally sound strategies created well before placing the body camera order at your EMS organization.

Micro-cameras and gadgets

Micro-cameras have many great uses and there is plenty of these bad boys on the market today. Amazon and other marketplace websites sell them for lots of money and some cheap as well. Here is a list of some of the best micro-cameras out there today.

  1. SS Wireless Hidden Cam (Waterproof)
  2. AHD 1080p Wifi Mini Camera
  3. CCTV 960P Wifi Mini Camera
  4. Full HD WiFi 1080P Mini Camera
  5. Super Mini 520TVL High-Resolution Audio Spy Camera
  6. PNZEO F3 Mini Cam
  7. WIFI Hidden Spy Camera, 1080P Spy Mini Camera Nanny Cam Home Security Covert Camera with Motion Detection
  8. Spy Pen with Surveillance Hidden Camera – 1080P Full HD Hidden Pen Recorder
  9. SOOSPY Spy Hidden Camera
  10. Enji Prime Mini Wireless Hidden Spy Camera
  11. Mini Spy Camera WiFi Hidden Camera AOBO Wireless HD 1080P Indoor Home Small Spy Cam Security Cameras
  12. Mini Spy Hidden Camera, NIYPS 1080P Portable Small HD Nanny Cam
  13. Spy Camera, MCSTREE Hidden Camera in Clock WiFi hidden Cameras
  14. Spy Camera Wifi, Conbrov WF98 960P Mini Wireless Hidden Camera
  15. 1080P Wireless WiFi Mini Camera- SOOSPY Indoor Outdoor Portable Small Security Camera
  16. ALPHA TEC Spy Camera- Hidden Camera
  17. Conbrov Mini Spy Cam Hidden Camera
  18. SS Mini Cam USB Charger
  19. MHDYT Full HD 1080P Mini Wireless Spy Camera with Motion Detection
  20. Relohas HD 1080P Wireless Mini Spy Camera Wireless with Live Streaming
  21. Blink XT2 Outdoor/Indoor Smart Security Camera with cloud storage
  22. Ruttru HD Indoor 2.4G Hidden Spy Camera Security Surveillance System for Home
  23. Qouya Energy Socket Wireless Hidden Spy Camera
  24. Taozhi HD 1080P Mini Spy Wireless Security Camera with Motion Detection
  25. Avioco HD 1080P Mini Hidden Camera WiFi Wireless Spy Camera

Below is a list of gadgets that have a micro-camera built-in.

  • 1080p HD Black Box Camera w/ PIR Sensor attached
  • 1080p Flash Drive Hidden Camera
  • 1080p HD Flash Drive Hidden Camera
  • PV-PH10W 1080P WiFi Smartphone Car Holder Hidden Camera
  • DIY100EB | DIY Kit 1080P WiFi Pinhole Hidden Camera Accessories
  • DIY BATTERY | DIY + USB Adapter Extended Battery Pack
  • DIY100EB | DIY Kit 1080P WiFi Pinhole Hidden Camera + Extended Battery Accessories
  • SGC1520WF Night Vision Clock Radio CVR
  • Night Vision Clock Radio WiFi Hidden Cloud Camera CVR
  • SC70014K Hidden Camera 4K DVR Indoor Cable Box with Night Vision front
  • Night Vision Indoor Cable Box 4K Hidden Camera DVR
  • SGC1564WF Night Vision Oscillating Fan WiFi Hidden Cloud Camera CVR
  • Night Vision Oscillating Fan WiFi Hidden Cloud Camera CVR
  • SGC7200WF WiFi Covert Night Vision Smoke Detector CVR Bottom View Camera
  • Night Vision Smoke Detector WiFi Hidden Cloud Camera CVR
  • SGC7100WF WiFi Covert Night Vision Smoke Detector CVR Side View Camera
  • Night Vision Smoke Detector WiFi Hidden Cloud Camera CVR
  • SC70184K Xtreme Life 4K Zen Air Freshener with Night Vision Hidden Camera Battery
  • Night Vision Zen Air Freshener 4K Hidden Camera DVR [Battery Powered]
  • PV-NB10W Notebook WiFi DVR
  • Notebook WiFi DVR
  • Omples Clock Spy Camera
  • LKcare Spy Camera Pen
  • Hidden watch camera WW134 with a built-in memory of 4GB
  • Hidden camera WiFi Lawmate PV-UC10I concealed in USB charger for a smartphone

Whatever you may be looking for in a micro-camera, make sure to compare each device before choosing the hidden camera that works best for your needs.

Conclusion

Whether it is police and paramedics wearing micro-cameras on their uniforms to help protect themselves legally, or if you just want a micro-camera so you can spy on a babysitter, a friend or a spouse, knowing what micro-cameras do and knowing which ones are out there will help you find the right micro-camera for what you need.

After all, we all want to feel safe, right?

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