Most people are carrying a miniature computer right in their pockets — their smartphone. A lot of people use their phones for far more than simple phone calls. They look up directions, have written conversations, access their bank accounts, save notes and use it as a personal camera or recording device.
That’s what makes the cellphone the modern equivalent of a diary — and something that most people consider “off-limits,” even to their spouses.
Unfortunately, not every spouse is respecting of those limits, especially when a marriage is on the rocks or already in the process of ending. More than one spouse, anxious to dig up a little dirt that might be useful in a divorce case, has invaded the privacy of the other by snooping through a cellphone. They’re usually looking for conversations with romantic partners, emails that reveal future plans and financial information — anything that could be ammunition in a divorce or custody case.
Is there anything you can do about it if you’ve been the victim of this kind of invasion of your privacy?
Absolutely. Intercepting your private electronic communications without permission is a violation of both federal and state wiretapping laws. In addition, California is what is known as a “two-party” consent state when it comes to recording conversations. That means you have additional protections against your spouse if he or she recorded any of your conversations without your permission — however it was done. You’re also protected from the use of hidden cameras anywhere you have a reasonable expectation of privacy — like your bedroom.
Not only can you prevent your spouse from using any evidence he or she obtained that way in court, you have the right to sue your spouse for the invasion of your privacy. Depending on the nature of your spouse’s intrusion and the actual damages you suffered, your spouse could be forced to pay $5,000 to $50,000 — or more.
If you’ve been victimized by a spouse’s aggressive investigation tactics, consider exploring your legal options — because all is certainly not fair in love or war when it comes to your privacy.
Source: www.rcfp.org, “California,” accessed April 12, 2018