You may want to keep track of the activities of your employees, your spouse, your girlfriend or boyfriend, or your children for many different reasons. But the question is, is spying on them morally. Moreover, is it legal? In this article, we are going to explore the following: is spying on someone illegal?
There is no simple yes or no answer to this question. Apart from the moral aspect, the law does not define which spying activities are legal – rather, it makes specific conduct illegal.
Why Are Certain Spying Activities Considered Illegal?
Paramount in the eyes of the law is the protection of the individual’s right to privacy. Spying implies that you are invading someone’s privacy. Anything that is not in plain view or if you have to go to extraordinary lengths to see or record it is spying and can get you into a great deal of trouble.
Spy apps, for instance, can easily be used to monitor calls, messages, and other Web activities of phones and devices that they are installed on, then send that data to the person who installed them.
But obviously, this is a gross invasion of privacy and highly illegal if it is done without the knowledge and permission of the user of the device.
You might find exceptions if the spying partner owns their spouse’s phone or if he or she pays both phone bills, but this is still a legal grey area.
Is Spying on Someone Illegal? How Can I Spy on Someone Legally?
Although most spying activities are illegal, there are certain things that you can do legally to gain more information about another person.
Below we have outlined seven different, yet highly effective, ways in which you can legally spy on another person. Be it a dishonest employee or a cheating spouse, one of these methods may just give you all the proof or information you may need.
Bear in mind that these methods may be legal, but you still have to ask yourself if they are moral!
Set up a Hidden Camera in Your Home
If the person on whom you wish to spy is likely to be in your home, for example, your spouse, you can set up a camera to monitor their activity, providing you own the property and no audio is recorded.
Because this area of the law is still evolving, it is safer to inform anyone who enters your home that they may be subject to recording or monitoring. This will dramatically improve your case should you ever be taken to court for an alleged invasion of privacy.
Place a Gps Tracker in Your Vehicle
When it comes to GPS tracking devices, you are allowed to place a GPS device in a vehicle that you own. If your spouse or partner also happens to use this vehicle, it can be a great way of keeping track of their whereabouts. Because the vehicle is your property, you have the right to monitor its use.
However, should the vehicle belong to your spouse or partner, or anybody else for that matter, it is not a good idea to place a GPS device on that vehicle?
Use Information That Is Publicly Available
You can find an amazing amount of information about people and their activities by simply searching for them on the Internet. You might try looking for things like property records, credit reports, criminal histories, and even phone numbers. It is perfectly legal to search for any information that is in the public domain.
Observe the Person in a Public Area
If the person on whom you wish to spy is in a public place, they do not have the expectation of privacy. It would, therefore, be perfectly legal to observe them and make a note of what they do and where they go.
However, limit the surveillance tools that you use to your own eyes and ears. The use of any other device, even though the person is in a public place, might cause legal problems.
Follow the Person’s Social Media Trail
Although it is illegal to access the password-protected social media accounts of others, simply reviewing the information that a person has posted publicly is perfectly legal.
It has become the norm these days for people to document much of their lives by posting status updates and uploading pictures on a variety of social media sites.
You can gain a lot of information about a person by checking to see where they are posting from, when they are posting, and what they are posting.
Spying on Your Kids
Although this technology appears to be invasive on the surface, cell phone monitoring can be put to good use if parents need to monitor their children. Using spy apps can help keep children away from child abusers, bullies, and other seedy people that lurk online.
Getting some advice about spy apps and how to use them can actively decrease the risk of exposing your child to danger.
Hire a Private Investigator
If you are still not sure how to go about spying on someone, don’t have the time, or simply prefer to let someone else do this for you, you can consider hiring a private investigator. These people have surveillance experience and will have a good idea of all the relevant privacy laws.
Make sure, however, that the investigator does not use any illegal methods of spying, or you could be prosecuted in the same manner as if you had done the illegal spying yourself. Give clear instructions, and outline in writing what activities you are authorizing the investigator to perform.
If you do have the need to spy on someone, it should be done with the utmost discretion, and never invade the other person’s right to privacy. Knowing which methods can be legally employed is imperative.
Use cameras only to protect your property. Do not aim them at your neighbor’s house, for instance. Access someone else’s computer or phone only if you have that person’s consent. And never, ever, install any monitoring or surveillance software on a phone or computer that does not belong to you.