Hidden Cameras, Audio Bugs, and GPS Devices in Iowa: What Is Legal?
Iowa is no stranger to loving and appreciating technology. Be it business or personal, we can all appreciate video chat, text messages, calling over wi-fi, the internet, and the easy availability of information. Yet with the amazing things technology gives us, it can be and is often used for horrible reasons, including spying on another person. Although it may sound like something out of a thriller or spy movie, hidden cameras, audio bugs, and GPS devices are common tools used to track others. This happens more often than you’d think. While finding out that someone is spying on you is shocking and terrifying, the real question is: what is legal?
Hidden Camera Use in Iowa: What the Laws Says
Iowa has strict laws about hidden cameras. In Iowa, it is a crime to record someone without their consent. This includes someone’s home or their hotel room. Iowa law had recent changes in the law that may mean that a person’s camera that records audio may or may not be charged in certain circumstances. It is illegal to install a hidden camera in someone else’s property. If the hidden camera also records or transmit audios, it may then also involve the state’s laws involving audio bugs.
Audio Bugs and Conversations: What Is the Law
Iowa is known as a one-party consent state when it comes to monitoring or recording a conversation. This means that at least one person involved in a conversation must give consent to having the conversation recorded. The location of the conversation is irrelevant. Iowa law makes it clear that failure to get consent for recording or monitoring a conversation can be considered eavesdropping. It can lead to a felony charge with a fine up to $7,500 and a maximum sentence of five year in prison, along with civil charges.
Are GPS Devices for Surveillance Legal in Iowa?
Iowa law states that a person who places a GPS device when one person, without consent of the other person, uses another person or an object to track movements without a legitimate purpose. Someone putting a GPS device on an object with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person is considered harassment by stalking. Examples of this may include pursuit, surveillance, or nonconsensual contact.
Is Someone Spying on You?
Now that you have a general idea of Iowa law related to the use of hidden cameras, audio monitoring, and GPS devices, there’s something else you must consider. While this is not the most comfortable idea to consider, it is a possibility that someone may be spying on you. You don’t have to be rich or famous or live life in the public eye, either. If you live in Iowa some of the most common reasons for another person to be spying on you by using GPS, audio bug, or hidden camera include:
- You own a business. You may think that because you own a small business you are immune to being spied on, but you are not. You don’t have to make millions. Others in the industry may see you as a threat. Corporate espionage could include using a current or former employee to spy on your business and its practices, using hidden cameras, or hiding audio bugs in offices and conference rooms. They may even use apps to monitor your phone calls, VOIP calls, web conferences, and video conferencing. They could even use your web cam and microphone to see and hear everything happening in your place of business without your knowledge. Key loggers are another item that can be used against your business. Key loggers record everything you type. They may even go as far as to use apps to see all your text messages and emails.
- You’re in the process of divorce or legal separation. Your spouse could be monitoring what you do and say. Your spouse could also be tracking your movements without your knowledge, listening to your phone calls, reading your text messages, and seeing what you are doing online. They may be hoping to use this against you in court or just to blackmail or threaten you. While using this type of information against someone in court is illegal, it may not stop the other person from using it as a scare tactic to get what they want from you. They may also just be obtaining this information to get you fired or embarrass you.
- Involvement in a child custody dispute. Even though people may have children without ever getting married, there is still a chance that the other parent may be hoping record something you say or do to try and scare you into giving up custody. They may also be trying to prove you are an unfit parent. They must just want to blackmail you. Much like the previous instances, you cell phone, landline, VOIP, web cam, and online activity could all be monitored. There are apps that aren’t hard to install even without touching the devices. It’s important to have every cell phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop computer checked by a professional.
- An abusive, jealous, or possessive significant other. When you are in a relationship with someone who feels the need to control or abuse you, they may use GPS devices, audio bugs, and hidden cameras against you. The use of these devices creates a potentially dangerous situation for the victim.
The Steps to Take If You Think You Are Being Watched
If you live in Iowa and you believe someone may be spying on you, take these steps:
- Do not change your routine too much. If you change your routine too much, you may alert the perpetrator in some way. They may remove the device or devices before they can be found. We know you don’t want the device or devices spying on you, you also don’t want them being moved and replaced later.
- Do not talk with anyone about it. You do not know how many devices there are or where they are hidden. Speaking of it could be a warning to the person who placed the device or devices. It is important that you are able to find the devices so that you may talk with the police and consult a lawyer about your potential legal options.
- Get to a safe place, use a safe phone, and call Spy Catchers at 1–800-373-8726. We provide free estimates in Iowa. Our professional team can sweep your home, business, and vehicle to help you get back your peace of mind and keep you safe.