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Hidden Camera Devices, Audio Bugs, and GPS Devices: What’s Legal in Kentucky? Could You Be at Risk?

Technology continues to expand and affect our lives. Smart phones, Alexa, Echo, Siri…the list can go on and on. Think about how we all have the ability to video chat using our phones or computers. Technology is great because it is designed to improve our lives and lets us all stay in touch. We have a new generation that includes many people who never once had to use a Rand McNally Road Atlas to get from point A to point B.

Yet, we all know that technology isn’t always reliable. Sometimes there are flaws that cause problems. Just ask the people who’ve had their private conversations recorded by Alexa and sent out without them knowing it until after it happened. Then, there are people who decide to misuse technology to spy on others. Hidden camera devices, audio bugs, and GPS devices are the most commonly misused items, and they are available for purchase by anyone. There are many of these items that are inexpensive and easy to hide. Are hidden cameras, audio bugs, and GPS devices used to watch others legal? Could you be at risk?

What Kentucky Law Says about Hidden Camera and Audio Bug Use

Kentucky is known as a one-party consent state. If two (or more, but we’re trying to keep it simple) individuals are having a conversation, only one of them must consent to having the conversation recorded or monitored. If no one gave permission or if you’re recorded by someone with whom you’re not having a conversation, they may be committing a felony under Kentucky law.

Kentucky law does not differentiate between the use of an audio bug or a hidden camera. In fact, the law uses the terms “any device.” Remember, though, if you’re involved in a conversation with someone and that other person has provided consent or is recording the conversation (which implies their consent), that’s all the law requires for the recording to be legal.

Another important point to keep in mind is your location at the time the recording occurs. If you’re out in a public space, like a park or walking down the sidewalk, you may not be able to claim that you had a reasonable expectation of privacy at the time the recording occurred.

Kentucky laws do allow for home security systems. However, if another person set up cameras in your home to watch you and they aren’t on your lease and they don’t live with you, that might be illegal. Another potential problem arises if the hidden cameras also record audio. We must revisit the one-party consent guideline. The home security system may be legally installed, but if consent of at least one person actively involved in the conversation isn’t provided, that could mean that Kentucky’s eavesdropping law is being violated.

Additionally, it is not legal to place hidden cameras (even in the context of home security) in an area of the home where someone would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This is generally bedrooms and bathrooms.

What Kentucky Law Says about Using GPS Devices

Whether someone can legally use a GPS device in Kentucky on your car without your permission is a question that a lawyer would need to help you answer. Kentucky did pass Amanda’s Law which is designed to require the tracking of individuals convicted of domestic violence. However, there are no laws in Kentucky that state it is illegal for someone to use a GPS device to track a vehicle, even if they don’t own it (aren’t on the title or lease).

As you can imagine, the use of a GPS device can create a scary situation that could put you in physical danger. Cell phones can also be used as GPS devices either by being hidden in the car with the location turned on or if someone has access to your location settings in your smartphone. If you think that someone may be using a GPS device to track you, call Spy Catchers at 1-800-33-8726 to schedule a bug sweep for your vehicle. We want to help you protect yourself.

Could You Be at Risk?

We know what you’re thinking. “Why would anyone want to spy on me like that?” Unfortunately, it’s more common than you think. If you own a business, corporate espionage is a real concern. Competitors could be using your own employees to learn about your business secrets. They could have sent over someone in a uniform to “fix” something and hid cameras and audio bugs throughout your business. They could also be monitoring your VOIP, landline, cell phones, web and phone conferencing equipment, and even your computers. They could use apps that allow them to see everything happening through a webcam and hear you without you knowing.

If you don’t own a business, you’re still not safe. In Kentucky, the most common reasons these devices are used include:

  • You’re going through a divorce. Your spouse may be trying to spy on you in the hopes of using that information against you. They may also be monitoring your cell phone, your email, and your computer. And, no, they don’t necessarily need physical access to your devices to do those things.
  • You’re involved in a child custody dispute. Regardless of whether you were ever married to the other parent, they could be using the devices to monitor you. Many parents will claim they must take these steps to ensure the safety of their children. If this happens to you, you’ll need to talk with your family law attorney to determine whether their actions violate Kentucky law.
  • You’re involved in or you got out of a dangerous relationship. Intimate partner violence, jealous significant others, and people with control issues could use these devices to watch their former partner. This can create extremely dangerous situations for the victim.
  • Someone is talking you. You may not even know that you’re being stalked. Again, this can create a dangerous situation.

If You Think You’re Being Spied On, Follow These Steps

If you think that someone may be using a hidden camera, audio device, or a GPS device to spy on you, we have some steps you should take.

  1. Don’t tell anyone about what you think is happening (unless you have an attorney; if you have an attorney, they should know). You may not know who planted the device, what sort of device it is, or if there is more than one. If you really want to get to the bottom of the situation, you must keep your suspicion to yourself. Otherwise, they may remove the device(s) before they can be found.
  2. Don’t change up your routine too much. It’s a scary situation to think that someone may be following you for any reason. It’s tempting to change up your routine. If you want to find the device and (hopefully) prosecute the offender, you’ll need to remain calm. You don’t want to tip them off. Stick to your routine (for now) as much as you can.
  3. Get to a safe location and call Spy Catchers at 1-800-3373-8726 to schedule an appointment to have a professional come and sweep your home, office, and vehicle.