Spouses Use Technology to Spy on Partners
11 December 2017IN: Family Law
Spyware is being used more often by suspicious spouses investigating their partners
Divorce attorneys are seeing a trend develop. With the increased use and abilities that come with advances in technology, attorneys are seeing an increase in the use of electronic spying by suspicious spouses, or even suspicious former spouses. Many clients report wanting to spy on a spouse, are spying on a spouse, or expressing fears that they have been, or are currently being, spied on by a spouse.
There are several different options couples are employing to investigate a spouse. Many involve tracking technology parents use to monitor their children in attempt to keep them safe on and offline. The Find My iPhone feature can be used to check and see if a person is at the place where he or she said they would be. In some cases, a person could leave a device such as an iPad in another person’s vehicle to track whereabouts. While the thought of tracking your spouse to confirm or deny your suspicions regarding possible marital indiscretions sounds good, you may want to consider whether this use of technology is actually legal.
Many ways a spouse may be tempted to use technology to spy on a partner may be illegal, or borderline illegal. Consider the following:
- Is a communication being illegally intercepted? There are very specific legal restrictions in place regarding eavesdropping or wiretapping. Monitoring phone calls, text messages, e-mails, and other technological communications may very well run outside of these laws.
- Who owns the property you are monitoring? If you jointly own a car with your spouse, you may be able to make a solid argument that using a GPS tracker is legally monitoring your property.
- What type of property are you monitoring? Some property is more personal than others and the law has more stringent restrictions regarding electronic monitoring. For example, a smartphone is considered a device intimate to the person who uses it. This means even if you pay for your spouse’s phone, it is still their property and they are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy in its use. Monitoring of a phone is different from monitoring of a jointly-owned vehicle. Putting spyware on your spouse’s phone can land you in trouble with the law.