To wrap up this series of blog posts on spying on your spouse, let’s talk about “nanny cams.” The use of secret video recording, or at least discussion of it, is prevalent today. You might be wondering then, given all of the legal limitations on other forms of snooping that we’ve discussed, how nanny cams can be legal. Using hidden cameras, however, does not in fact violate the wiretapping statutes that we have addressed in other blog posts.
The use of nanny cams is in fact permissible, because the rules about video recordings are different from rules about voice and telephone recordings. Our federal and state wiretapping laws only apply to the interception of oral communication. This is why nanny cams (the legal ones, anyway) do not have audio recording features. It is generally okay to record video without an audio feed in your own home, without the consent of the person being video taped. If you own the property, or have permission from someone who owns the property, it is most likely permissible to place an inconspicuous video recorder to determine what is going on in your home.
Summing Up: Snooping on Your Spouse
We have addressed a number of ways in which you might be legally able to check up on your spouse’s activities. With all of the technology available to us today, it is easy to indulge your insecurities or give in to your suspicions and start checking up on your loved one. Sometimes snooping is reasonable and warranted; sometimes it is unjustified and invasive. Just because you could legally snoop through some of your spouse’s communications, does not mean that it is the right or healthy thing for you or your relationship. Before you start spying, think it through — what are the likely effects on you, your family, and your relationship if someone (especially your spouse) finds out that you distrust your spouse enough to start snooping?
Snooping should only be undertaken with care, from both a legal perspective and a personal one. Legally, there are limitations and complex considerations involved with some types of snooping. To be certain that you do not violate federal or state statutes and expose yourself to civil or criminal liability, it is always best to talk with a lawyer before spying on your spouse. Also, just because a method of getting information is legal, does not mean that the information you gather can be used in court. So take into consideration whether the breach of trust will be worthwhile if you cannot prove in court what you find out from snooping. Finally, consider your personal well-being and the strength of your relationship. If your gut is telling you that even legally permissible snooping is a bad idea in your situation, listen to it! Think honestly about the source of your doubts and how you and your partner can address them…and hopefully avoid the need for a divorce lawyer altogether.