Audio Bugs, Hidden Cameras, and GPS Devices: What’s Legal in Alabama?
Checking-in on various social media apps, sharing a GPS app with family members so that you can all keep track of each other, and video chatting through social media or on cell phones are all ways that the consensual use of technology can make the lives of Alabama residents easier. Yet, hidden cameras, audio bugs, GPS devices, and apps on smart devices and computers that can read everything you type and even use your built-in camera to watch you without your knowledge are increasingly used without consent.
People don’t need to have a special license to buy and use those devices, either. They’re discreet and affordable. But are they legal in Alabama? Here’s what you need to know.
Audio Bug Use in Alabama
Audio bugs listen to and may also record conversations. This is known as “eavesdropping” or “wiretapping.” Alabama is known as a one-party consent state. This means that if two or more people are involved in a conversation, only one person must give consent for the conversation to be overheard or recorded. Without the permission of one person who is actually involved in the conversation, it is a crime. Criminal surveillance may also be charged if the person intentionally engages in surveillance by trespassing in a private place.
Hidden Camera Use in Alabama
Hidden camera use in Alabama and whether it is legal depends on several factors. The first factor is remembering that Alabama is a one-party consent state. This is important not just for hidden cameras, but for hidden cameras that also record or transmit audio. Another factor is whether the hidden camera is placed in a location where the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy such as a bedroom or a bathroom. Speaking of bedrooms, Alabama law states that if someone surveils another individual in an area where the victim has a reasonable expectation of privacy and that person did not give consent, and if the victim is being watched for the purpose of sexual gratification, the person who placed the hidden camera may be charged with aggravated criminal surveillance.
Public places could also involve the use of hidden cameras. Someone could follow you and use a hidden camera to watch you while you’re in a public place. This is not usually illegal since there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.
GPS Devices in Alabama
The use of GPS devices in Alabama can depend on several factors as well. Many family lawyers see the use of the devices more and more in both divorce and child custody cases. Whose name is on the title of the vehicle might play an important role in determining whether planting one is legal or not. However, trespassing onto private property to place a GPS device on a vehicle when the perpetrator is not the owner of the vehicle could cross the legal line.
Spying Is More Common Than You Think
You don’t have to be a superstar or a political figure for someone to target you. Business owners and regular, every day people are often targeted. Businesses may be spied on as a way to gain their business secrets. They may be targeted by current or former employees who want nothing more than to ruin the company. A business may also be targeted if it (or its owners or key employees) are involved in some sort of lawsuit or insurance dispute.
Alabama residents face a higher risk of having these devices used against them. Divorce, child custody matters, intimate partner violence, restraining orders, workers’ compensation claims, personal injury claims, and dangerous or jealous partners are some of the key reasons that hidden cameras, audio bugs, and GPS devices are used. They may also be used by someone who may be stalking you.
What Should You Do If You Find a Hidden Device?
If you find a hidden camera, audio bug, or GPS device, it’s important that you know what to do. Do not try to remove the device on your own, especially if it is a modern one. They can be extremely sensitive. Improper handling could ruin the data or the device. That could make it practically impossible for you to find out who planted it. Instead, call Spy Catchers at 1-800-373-8726 to schedule a professional removal and a full sweep of your location.
What Should You Do If You Think Someone Is Spying on You?
As you’ve learned, Alabama is a one-party consent state and there are several elements that determine whether a device is being used illegally. Even if it’s not technically illegal, we know that you don’t want someone spying on you without your permission. If you think that someone is spying on you:
- Do not mention it to anyone. You may not know who is targeting you or why. There could also be more than one device. Talking about it to anyone can alert the perpetrator that you know what they’re doing. They might come and remove the device before it is found.
- Keep your same routine. Too many variations can alert the perpetrator that you think something strange is going on. Do your best to keep your same routine so as not to alert suspicion.
- Call Spy Catchers LLC from a safe location. Remember that there are key loggers and other apps that can watch everything you type on your cell phone and in a web browser. There are also apps that could capture your screen or use your built-in camera to see you. Get to a safe location and use a phone you know is safe to call us at 1-800-373-8726. We want to help you regain your privacy.