June 12, 2023
Divorce can be difficult and challenging. It can disrupt your life for a long time, and it forces you to create a new and different way of living. Sometimes, divorce can be extremely contentious. You and your spouse may not just disagree about settlement terms but may also have difficulty communicating. Although divorce in Illinois is no-fault, both parties still need to make sure that they receive their fair share when the marriage ends. You may want to take various measures to learn about someone’s assets and other personal details before you agree to a settlement. You may wonder, what is considered electronic snooping?
The term electronic snooping has a negative connotation. It refers to the unlawful gathering of electronic information. It is illegal to read someone’s emails without permission. It is also illegal to install software onto a person’s computer to record sites they visit or to obtain passwords. Someone cannot hack into another person’s personal phone, computer, or laptop camera to view or take the information. HIPAA laws make it unlawful to access someone’s medical records or history through any means, including electronic.
Some examples of what is considered electronic snooping include logging into a person’s laptop without permission and taking information from someone’s phone, including text messages, call records, voicemails, and other data. Illinois is a two-party consent state, so it is against the law to record someone without their permission. Therefore, you cannot record a conversation in secret.
You cannot log onto someone’s computer to review their browsing history or use any method to secretly download information from their computer. You cannot put an electronic GPS tracking device on someone’s vehicle. You can’t install a surveillance camera at someone’s home for the purpose of gathering private information.
While there are many illegal ways to snoop electronically, there are also some legal methods of obtaining information. For example, someone may gather posts from online social media sites as long as they are posted publicly. Images and words that are posted on sites such as Facebook or Instagram are public, and therefore it is not illegal to utilize them as part of a divorce case. It is important to know that you should not post any information anywhere online that you would not want someone else to read or know about. Even a post that is set to private could be considered public because those who have access may share it online.
Public surveillance cameras, such as those on businesses or at parks or streets, are part of the public domain and are not private. Cameras located in people’s homes may also be utilized in some cases because the camera owner has the right to provide information if necessary.
When you are going through a divorce, the details of your private life may be exposed. You can protect yourself by refraining from any social media posting during the divorce. You will also want to take steps to ensure that you obtain information about your spouse only if you can do so in a legal manner. Electronic snooping can be problematic in divorce proceedings. To learn more about electronic snooping and for help with divorce issues, contact us at the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group today.