Hidden Cameras, Audio Bugs, and GPS Devices in Hawaii: What’s Legal?

Living in Hawaii and having family or friends on the mainland means that you know all about how important video chat and phone calls are when it comes to keeping in touch. Yet, while technology is meant to make our lives easier, it is often used for terrible reasons, including spying on another person. Although it may sound like something straight out of a movie, hidden cameras, audio bugs, and GPS devices are used to track someone, it happens more often than you’d think…even in paradise. While finding out that someone is spying on you is shocking and scary, the real question is: what’s legal? Do you need a Hawaii Bug Sweep Company?

Hidden Camera Use in Hawaii: What the Law Says

Hawaii has very strict laws about hidden camera installation and use. In Hawaii, it is a crime to record someone with a hidden camera if they are in a location that may be considered private. That includes someone’s home or even a hotel room. In fact, in Hawaii it isn’t just a crime to use a hidden camera in a private place without consent. It’s illegal to install the hidden camera.

Of course, if an individual is in a public location, it is generally legal to record them with a camera or to take photos of them. Since they’re in public, it is assumed that what they’re doing isn’t private Examples of a public place include parks, the beach, restaurants, and even walking down a sidewalk.

Audio Bugs and Conversations: What the Law Says

Hawaii is known as a one-party consent state when it comes to monitoring or recording a conversation. What this means is that if two or more are involved in a conversation, only one person must give consent to have the conversation monitored or recorded. It doesn’t matter if the conversation takes place in what is generally considered a private place. Hawaii law makes it clear that failure to get consent to monitor or record a conversation is eavesdropping. It can lead to a felony charge as well as civil penalties. It is also illegal to possess a device that is primarily used to intercept wire, oral, or electronic communications. And, just like with installing hidden cameras, it is illegal to install an audio bug for eavesdropping. That is a separate charge from the actual act of eavesdropping.

Are GPS Devices for Surveillance Legal in Hawaii?

For the purpose of discussing GPS devices for surveillance in Hawaii, please note that we are not referencing:

  1. Law enforcement using GPS devices after receiving a warrant
  2. GPS monitoring devices used by the court to monitor an offender
  3. GPS devices built-in to a vehicle for emergency services or built-in navigation
  4. GPS devices installed by a car dealership for the purposes of monitoring the location of a vehicle that has yet to be paid off

We specifically mean using a GPS device without a warrant and without the knowledge or the consent of the person being monitored. According to Hawaiian law, the use of a GPS device with the intent to harass annoy, or alarm another person is considered harassment by stalking. This may involve pursuit, surveillance, or nonconsensual contact on more than one occasion without having a legitimate purpose.

Could Someone Be Spying on You?

Now that you understand what’s legal and what’s not, let’s talk about whether someone could be spying on you. It’s not a comfortable thought, but it is something that should be considered. If you live in Hawaii, the most common reasons someone may be using a hidden camera, audio bug, or GPS device against you include:

  • You own a business. It could be a small business. It doesn’t have to a be a business that makes you rich. It just has to be one that competitors know take part of the client base. Corporate espionage could include using a current or former employee to spy on your business, placing hidden cameras or audio bugs in offices and conference rooms, or even using apps to monitor your phone calls, VOIP calls, web conferencing, and video conferencing. They could even use your web cam and microphone to see and hear you without you knowing it. Keyloggers could be used to record everything you type. They may even be able to read all or your text messages and emails.
  • You’re involved in a divorce or separation. Your spouse could be monitoring everything you do or say. They could be tracking everywhere you go. They could be listening to all of your cell phone conversations, reading your text messages, and seeing everything you do online. They may be hoping to use the information to frighten you or blackmail you. They may be looking to use the information to ruin you.
  • You’re involved in a child custody dispute. Even if you aren’t married to the other parent, they may be hoping to record something you say or do to try and scare you into giving up custody. They may be looking to prove you’re unfit or blackmail you. Much like the previous two scenarios, your cell phone, landline, VOIP, web cam, and online activity could all be monitored. There are apps that aren’t hard to deploy. Don’t ever think that your devices are totally secure unless you have them checked out.
  • You’re involved in settling an insurance claim or you have a lawsuit for an injury of some kind. The other side could be looking to minimize what happened and take advantage of you. They may be tracking your every movement, videoing you, or even listening in to your conversations.
  • You have a jealous, possessive, or abusive significant other. GPS devices, audio bugs, and hidden cameras as well as apps for digital devices are used more and more in situations where someone feels the need to abuse or control their partner. These devices can create a dangerous situation for the victim.

Take These Steps If You Think You’re Being Watched

If you live in Hawaii and think that someone may be spying on you, take these steps:

  1. Don’t change up your routine too much. If you do, the person who planted the device or devices could be alerted. They may remove the device or devices before they can be found. While we know you certainly don’t want them there, you need them if you want to find out who is behind it and press charges.
  2. Don’t talk about it with anyone. You don’t know how many devices there are or where they’re hidden. Talking about it could alert the person who is spying on you. It’s important that you’re able to find the devices so that you may talk with the police and maybe even a lawyer to find out what you can do.
  3. Get to a safe location, use a safe phone, and call Spy Catchers at 1800-373-8726. We provide free estimates. Our professionals can sweep your home, business, and vehicle to help you get back your peace of mind. We can help you discover and remove any hidden cameras, audio bugs, or GPS devices so that you can exercise your legal rights.