Spying and Private Investigators in Family Law
There are federal laws that regulate electronic spying.
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act, or ECPA, provides for penalties for any person who intentionally intercepts, uses or discloses any wire or oral communication by using any electronic, mechanical, or other device, or without authority accesses a wire or electronic communication while in storage. The law applies to traditional telephone wiretaps, cordless telephone interceptions, electronic messages, voicemail systems, pagers, VOIP, and recording or videotaping private face-to-face conversations and some other communications. Under North Carolina law, you can record a phone conversation or other in-person conversation if one of the parties to the communication consents to the recording and everyone is in North Carolina. This means that you may record your own telephone calls or meetings in North Carolina, but you CANNOT record telephone calls and in-person meetings between your spouse and a third party if neither party consents to the conversation being recorded and you are not a participant in the call or meeting. (Some states require both parties to consent to recording a phone call or meeting).
You should be very cautious about reading anyone else’s emails and text messages if you don’t have express permission to access private electronic communications. To protect yourself from someone spying on you, you should consider installing up up-to-date firewalls on your electronic devices, creating strong passwords on all your accounts and using encryption software. You may want to confer with a competent private investigator to check your devices for key stroke capture programs, other spy programs or apps, and GPS trackers.