Spying on Your Spouse? Think Twice!

March 19th, 2015 by JBWK

Submitted by Herbert V. Kelly, Jr.

Tech-savvy spouses are becoming increasingly aware of spyware programs that can monitor and record smart-phone use to include phone calls, text messages, internet activity and photos. The use of these spyware programs may constitute a violation of Virginia Code § 19.2-62, a criminal statute, which makes it unlawful to intercept, endeavor to intercept or procure any other person to intercept any wire, electronic or oral communication.

Additionally, this Code section classifies as a felony the intentional use, or endeavor to use, the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, knowing or have reason to know that the information was obtained through a prohibited interception.

Will any dirt that a spouse digs up through the use of spyware programs that intercept the other spouse’s activities be useful to divorce attorneys? Absolutely not! It would be unethical, and perhaps unlawful, for the client or counsel to use any information that was illegally intercepted.

What’s in store for the spyware companies who produce the software? Ask the maker of “Stealth Genie” who was fined $500,000 in 2014 by a federal judge in Alexandria, barring the use of and access to the app. Do not make apps that spy on others as you may find yourself defending federal criminal charges.

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