Thanks to Hollywood and TV Dramas like CSI, the average citizen might imagine a private investigator has the right to legally bug and wiretap anyone’s office or home. However, that is an incorrect and morally wrong picture of a reputable investigator. The laws in each State and Country, for what accounts for legitimate electronic surveillance, vary greatly. A good Private Investigator has a responsibility to both to protect his or her client from illegal electronic countermeasures and to abide by the privacy laws of the region.
There are two categories in general, of electronic communication surveillance.
Wiretapping communications refers to the transmission or transferring of the human voice from one point to the other over a wire-based communication technology. For example, law enforcement agencies like the FBI or a local Police Department may use wiretapping to disclose or gain access to a conversation to obtain evidence of a crime.
The second method; Electronic communications refers to the transfer or transmission of electronic data, information, or sounds from one location to the other via electronic device like a computer. An example of electronic communications might be in the form of an email or uploaded information from a computer to the internet.
Legal Consent Laws:
When a Private Investigator is tasked with recording electronic communication surveillance, he or she must first determine whether consent is required from one or all parties involved.
One-party consent law, means you can record a phone call or conversation with the consent of one person (party) in the conversation.
U.S. Federal Law and Thirty-eight U.S. States, plus the District of Columbia have adopted the one-party consent laws, allowing individuals to record phone calls or conversations where one party involved in the communication consents.
Two-party consent laws require the consent of all parties involved to legally record a phone call or conversation.
Eleven U.S. States require two-party consent to lawfully record a phone call or conversation. The two-party consent laws have been adopted by California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.
You can not hire a Private Investigator to tap your company rival’s conference room. Nor should you ever try to illegally bug a person, place of business or a home not belonging to you.
A conversation in a public area, where there is no expectation of privacy, may be legally recorded or observed. However, that does not make it legal to plant a listening device in a public park or common area.
Recording phone calls and conversations without consent can lead to criminal and civil liability. Protect your home and place of business from illegal recording devices. Alpha Group’s Electronic Countermeasures team is equipped with the tools and training to uncover hidden transmitters, recorders, micro cameras, and other covert devices designed and placed to compromise a company, organization or individual wherever that may be