More Americans are using digital methods to spy on their partners when their marriages are no longer working. According to a large number of investigators, divorce attorneys and a family court judge interviewed by NPR, increasing numbers of divorcing couples are turning to spying on their partners via their smartphones.
Easy access to this technology is making it simple to know exactly where someone is at any point in the day. In addition to features such as Find My iPhone, ex-partners can install spyware on smartphones. These apps typically have a subscription fee and once installed can track someone’s every text message, phone call, web search and keystroke.
More people are using this software not only to detect their ex’s whereabouts, but to prove infidelity. However, implanting spyware on an adult’s phone is generally illegal. A lawyer will not want to touch information that was illegally obtained. A lawyer could also be held responsible for charges such as intercepting electronic communications and wiretapping just for accepting it as evidence in a divorce case.
Digital spying can be dangerous
On the other hand, some means of electronic spying are technically legal. In some cases, GPS tracking can be used as evidence in a divorce case. For example, one partner places a GPS tracker on their ex’s vehicle. If both partners have their names on the vehicle title then it is technically legal for them to track their own vehicle. This means an ex can track their every move, down to where they are staying the night, to when they go to work. However, even if the technology is legal, many attorneys are weary to utilize it in divorce cases.
The prospect of being tracked is not only violating, but can be terrifying for some. For example, some people feel unsafe due to threatening or abusive partner behavior. They may attempt to cut all contact with their ex and live with family members through divorce proceedings. However, their ex may attempt to track their location via a tracking device or spying app.
Anyone experiencing an unsafe home environment should seek a protective order and should be weary of using a jointly-owned vehicle for transportation. Individuals who fear violence to themselves or their children should contact the police and an attorney.
Ultimately, digital spying is shaping the way people separate and divorce. It breaks barriers of privacy and unveils suspected infidelity. Questions of the legality and morality of spying are coming to the forefront of the modern divorce.