Part II: Tinker, Tailor, Scorned Spouse, Spy?

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C posted in Divorce on Wednesday, October 10, 2012

In our previous post, we shared news about the technological revolution that is transforming the behaviors of some husbands and wives who suspect their spouses of cheating.

Sophisticated spying gear that was once used mainly by governments and large corporations (as well as movie sleuths and villains) is now readily available in electronics stores and online.

Companies selling tiny GPS trackers say business is booming. The devices can be placed on or in cars, clothing, handbags or briefcases, telling one spouse exactly where the other is going.

A survey early this year by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers showed that 92 percent of family law attorneys had observed an increase in evidence obtained with smartphones in the past three years — evidence including e-mails, text messages, calling history and stored GPS information.

But in some cases, people go too far and violate their spouse’s privacy so deeply that the criminal justice system gets involved.

In Minnesota, a man got 30 days in jail for electronically stalking his wife. In Nebraska, a woman who put a bug in her daughter’s teddy bear to eavesdrop on the girl’s dad was later found guilty of a Federal Wiretap Act violation. In Iowa, a man was found to have violated his wife’s “reasonable expectation of privacy” after he secretly installed a camera in their bedroom alarm clock.

To date, at least five U.S. circuit courts have held that the Federal Wiretap Act prohibits one spouse from spying on another. But at least two others have ruled that the law doesn’t prevent a wife or husband from keeping electronic tabs on their spouse.

Our firm represents people in family law matters. For more information, please visit our St. Louis divorce site.

Source: Wall Street Journal, “A Spy-Gear Arms Race Transforms Modern Divorce,” Oct. 5, 2012

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