Invasion of Privacy in NC
Some of the areas to be explored in this article include recording telephone calls, recording secret video, hiring a private investigator, placing a GPS on someone’s car, and looking at someone’s email or hacking into their computer. The bottom line is- proceed with extreme caution, as there are numerous potential pitfalls in this ever changing area of the law and you certainly don’t want to have a case named after you.
NC Statutes on Invasion of Privacy
Federal Statutes on Invasion of Privacy
Is recording a phone call in NC legal?
North Carolina is a one-party consent State meaning it is legal to record a phone call with another person if both parties are in NC. A proposed bill set to go in effect December 1, 2023 would change North Carolina to a 2-party consent state for recorded conversations. As the law currently stands if you record someone in another state you could be violating the law of the other state. See N.C.G.S. 15A-287.
Is using a GPS legal in NC?
This is a gray area of the law to be sure and likely depends on the exact situation. The safe answer is do not use GPS to track someone. That being said the answer may depend on whether the GPS is placed on a car your own or a person. Another consideration is even if your name is not on the title to a vehicle do you have a marital interest in the vehicle. There may be limited exceptions for a parent to track a child or for a private investigator to track a vehicle when there is no Domestic Violence Protective Order in place. See N.C.G.S. 14-196.3 (New statute as of December 2015)
HSG, LLC v. Edge-Works Manuf. Co, 205 NCBC 87 (October 5, 2015)
In this case one party claimed the other “meddled with his personal vehicle by attaching a GPS tracking device to it.” The North Carolina Business Court held that attaching the GPS was not the Tort of Invasion of Privacy. It is important to note this case predates N.C.G.S 14-196.3.
Is hiring a PI to spy on my spouse legal in NC?
A private investigator can be used in various ways many of which are certainly legal and some which certainly are not legal. At the end of the day, sometimes utilizing a PI is the only way to obtain the necessary evidence to prove adultery in an alimony or alienation of affection case against a third party.
Kennedy v. Morgan, 221 NC App. 219 (June 5, 2012)
Husband hired a Private Investigator for surveillance of his wife. This Court found this act alone did not support a conclusion of law to constitute domestic violence.
Can I leave a recording device in my house to catch my spouse?
Simply leaving a running audio tape recorder in your house to record your spouse violates the NC Electronic Surveillance Act. Having a running audio tape recorder in your pocket during a conversation with your spouse does not appear to be a violation if you a party to the conversation. Be aware there is actually a major distinction between recording audio and video as recording video does not appear to be covered by the NC Electronic Surveillance Act. A Nanny Cam may fall under this exception in addition to a possible "vicarious consent" exception to protect children. See N.C.G.S. §15A-287.
Kroh v. Kroh, 152 N.C. App. 357, No. COA01-1027 (Aug 20, 2002)
The NC Electronic Surveillance Act prohibits one spouse recording the other, even inside the family home. Doing so violates the NC Electronic Surveillance Act and the Omnibus Act. Videotaping does not violate the Act unless there is also auditory recording. The court does adopt the vicarious consent doctrine, permitting non consensual recording to protect the welfare of the child.
Is Spyware legal in NC?
Most forms of computer or phone spyware violate some State or Federal law.
Hassell v. Hassell, 775 S.E. 2d 695 (June 15, 2016)
Husband installed spyware on a phone given to the child. Based upon the specific facts of the case the Court found Wife felt and was harassed by Husband.
Can I hack into someone’s email in NC?
Hacking into someone’s email is almost certainly not lawful. That being said, emails obtained without hacking that have been downloaded on a computer may be fair game.
Evans v. Evans, 169 N.C. App. 358, 610 S.E. 2d 264 (2005)
Emails were not illegally intercepted when they were downloaded and stored on the family computer. Interception was not contemporaneous with transmission. Defendant did not preserve the argument as to insufficient foundation. Trial court did not commit error in allowing the emails into evidence.
Williamson v. Williamson, 217 N.C. App. 388, 719 S.E. 2d 695 (2011)
Emails were excluded from evidence as illegally obtained in violation of Wife’s privacy interest when Husband obtained them from her password protected email account. Appeals court did not specifically rule on that issue, saying that even if the exclusion was error, there was no showing that the exclusion was prejudicial.
Fraser v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 352 F.3d 107, 113, 20 I.E.R. Cas. (BNA) 1207, 149 Lab. Cas. (CCH) ¶59803 (3d Cir. 2003), as amended, (Jan. 20, 2004)
Once emails are read and permanently stored on a computer, they are no longer protected by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
Is illegally obtained evidence admissible in NC?
Just because it may be criminal to place a GPS unit in someone's bag does not necessarily mean that the evidence is inadmissible. In fact some Federal cases say the evidence is admissible as long as the attorney did not have a role in illegally obtaining the evidence. As discussed above this area of the law is constantly evolving and open to interpretation by the specific facts in your case. Another concern is that using illegally obtained evidence could open one up to civil liability.
3/4/2017 12:44:45 pm
I had an attorney reviewing my medical and legal documents for possible Veterans claim. He sent back my flash drive with volumes of medical and legal documents on it. It was delivered to my house open and flash drive missing. I contacted the Post Office in Havelock and the post master said it was sealed when it was delivered. I contacted my Congressman to do an investigation on the flash drive, because it had sensitive information on it between client and attorney, not to mention medical records that I didn't want disclosed to anyone. What are my rights under consumer protection against fraud, invasion of privacy and other laws governing destruction of property. Later, the post office contacted me and said flash drives get caught in machines all the time and they have a number of flash drives at the plant. They were requesting what it looked like. They no longer are saying the envelope was sealed, but the machine torn open the letter and flash drive was lost.
3/4/2017 12:57:09 pm
Are you looking to sue the Post Office? If so you would need to speak with an attorney who sues gov't agencies as there are special rules whenever you sue the government. Do you think a postal employee opened the letter and kept the flash drive? Seems like it would be hard to prove intent and actual damages here without further evidence. As mentioned above you need to seek an attorney with success in suing a government agency.
9/29/2017 09:34:48 pm
Were can I find this technology
9/30/2017 02:14:38 pm
GPS trackers and other spyware technology can be purchased at Best Buy or online. That being said, it is often advisable to use a licensed PI to avoid criminal liability.
11/5/2017 07:58:36 pm
Are GPS monitors still used in the state of North Carolina to keep track of registered sex offenders? I thought I saw an article some months ago where the law was banned in some cases because it fell under cyber stalking?
11/6/2017 03:26:21 pm
Putting a GPS on someone's person or car can be considered cyber-stalking for sure. Regarding the State monitoring a convicted sex offender with an ankle monitor that is a different scenario.
4/2/2018 08:08:53 am
I've had 3 gps tracker placed on my car by a lady who has stalked me for 6 years. I have turned all 3 into the police. Why can't the police do anything about this??
4/2/2018 09:07:47 am
Do you have any evidence this person placed these trackers on your car? Without evidence all you have is suspicion which is not enough to charge someone with a crime. You should consider setting up a trail cam to catch whoever is putting these GPS units on your car.
1/11/2018 06:53:30 pm
My husband and I found out that his boss has some how been logging into my husband's personal email from their personal laptop. What laws if any has his boss broken? I have to think this is an invasion of privacy to say the least. I feel violated that he has read personal correspondents between my husband and myself. Not to mention any other personal, private and confidential emails my husband may have received or sent that may contain confidential information. We are not really sure at this point what we should do or what our rights are. Thank you!
1/11/2018 06:59:49 pm
Does your husband login to his personal email using a company internet connection? Sounds like he needs to do the following:
1/11/2018 08:58:53 pm
He has logged into his email on company computer in his office. We have traced the login to his email however to an IP address that is their personal laptop. As soon as we figured this out this morning we changed his password. My husband was terminated from his job over the phone last night at 10 p, because he boss somehow knew that my husband was in the beginning stages of starting his own company. This is what prompted us to investigate how his boss found out since it was not public knowledge. We are not really concerned about him losing his job at this point because he was going to put in a 2 week notice once the company was up and running. Our concern is with the invasion of privacy and possible illegal way the info was discovered. Also we are concerned with any other info they may have retrieved from personal email account; bank info, medical info, school correspondence on our child, etc.
1/11/2018 11:28:10 pm
I would simply suggest meeting with an employment law attorney willing to file a lawsuit against both the company and individuals involved.
9/10/2018 08:39:56 pm
Can an employer require I place a tracking device on my personal phone while driving a company vehicle
9/11/2018 10:48:53 am
Never heard of such a requirement for a personal phone. You may want to speak with an employment law attorney. Problem is if you complain they may make up another reason to fire you.
9/17/2018 03:27:53 pm
Hello. I have several questions. My stepdaughter brought a phone to our home that her mother had given her to "play games" so she says. There was no password or anything set up on the phone. Apps such as Facebook messenger, Gmail accounts, photos, text messages and all that was still accessible. Being that we were not sure of what she was able to access and what she was able to do or was already doing, I checked it out. To my surprise I had found conversations, text messages, photos and such that was about my self. Things that were untrue and I can easily prove so. I looking at suing the people involved for defamation, harassment, stalking and anything else that I can add to this. I am wanting to know since the phone was in our possession did we have the right to go through it being that it was left at our home without a password or anything?
9/17/2018 04:24:04 pm
I am not sure the phone was in your possession simply because it was in your house. If you are looking to sue for defamation you should speak with whoever will representing you on the matter to confirm your evidence will be admissible at trial.
11/15/2018 04:48:43 pm
If i suspect my spouce having an affair can I put a video Camera in my livingroom to catch them? It has audio on it but I can delete that part when submitting to a lawyer. I just need their actions not their words.
11/15/2018 05:33:11 pm
You would need to speak with a local attorney about how best to create evidence admissible in court.
4/12/2019 06:33:09 am
I recently suspected my wife having an affair with one of our roommates, and so I placed a hidden camera in my bedroom. There is no audio on this device, only video. I did in fact catch them in the act on the device. Can I use this in court? Or as evidence to a divorce attorny?
4/12/2019 11:39:02 am
That is a gray area. The filming was likely a violation of the law. That being said, some courts will allow in illegally obtained evidence. At this point you need to speak with a local divorce attorney.
8/7/2019 05:46:41 am
My spouse told me that he hacked my phone and computer to see my personal texts, messenger, deleted info and emails. These are in my house but are not mine as they are property of the company I work for. Can legal action be taken against him?
8/7/2019 08:27:40 am
You would need to seek specific legal advice to see what you could actually prove and whether a civil action is worth the effort and expense since I doubt the DA would prosecute. He also would likely deny admitting what he said or did at trial.
12/6/2022 10:47:05 am
My question is how can my ex boyfriend see who I am talking to and messaging on my cell phone and I have my phone lock, also he give me his phone to look up YouTube for music and account was on his phone on YouTube, plus he had my Facebook account open on both pages, then he told that he seen messages from years ago, also he my ex boyfriend was changing my oil and oil filter and spark plugs, on the oil filter after he had finish up he as me for a screwdriver and I ask him why he said nothing, it took him 4 hours to change the oil filter, could he have place a tracker on my car, also he is listening to my phone conversation it is a lot of static and someone is picking up the phone and hanging it up, he paid my phone bill and completely wiped of the phone number using his phone carrier also he is a computer information technology
12/8/2022 08:24:49 pm
There are numerous kinds of spyware. I would recommend speaking with a computer expert or private investigator to check your phone or car for trackers.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.