Hidden Cameras, Audio Bugs, and GPS Devices in Montana: What Is the Law?
Living in Montana and having your family members and friends across the country or even in other countries means that we are all grateful for technology and what it has done for us. As technology continues to develop, we can literally see, talk, listen to, or track someone at any time. Of course, when we do these things for ourselves or with the knowledge and consent of another person, it’s not a problem. Unfortunately, in Montana, hidden cameras, audio bugs, and GPS tackers are used against others without their knowledge. While finding out that someone is spying on you is both shocking and scary, the real question is: is it legal?
Montana law states that a person commits the crime of stalking if they purposely or knowingly cause substantial emotional distress or reasonable apprehension of bodily injury or death. This includes harassing, threatening, or intimidating the other person, in person or by mail, electronic communication, or any other device or method. It is important to note the broad way that the law is written. It includes electronic communication or any other device or method. As our everyday technology continues to get smarter, this becomes more and more important because the law may not be prone to as many loopholes for not specifically including new technological wonders.
Hidden Cameras in Montana: What Does the Law Say?
Montana law states that any person involved in any type of videotaping must give their consent prior to being recording. This includes the use of hidden cameras in any personal space, including a hotel room or someone’s home. In Montana, it is not just a crime to use a hidden camera in a private place without consent. It is also illegal to install the hidden camera.
Audio Bugs and Conversations: What Montana Law Says
Montana is considered a two-party consent. They are one of eleven states that use the two-party consent rule. This means that all parties involved in a conversation must give permission for the recording or monitoring of the conversation. Otherwise, it is a violation of the law (excluding when being performed by law enforcement with a valid warrant). The law includes the interception of oral, electronic, or wired communication.
GPS Device Use in Montana
For the purpose of discussing GPS devices for surveillance in Montana, please note that we are not referencing:
- Law enforcement using GPS devices after receiving a warrant.
- GPS monitoring devices used by the court to monitor an offender.
- GPS devices built-in to a vehicle for emergency services or built-in navigation.
- GPS devices installed by a car dealership for the dealership for the purposes of monitoring the location of the vehicle that has yet to be paid off.
We specifically mean using a GPS device without a warrant and without knowledge of the other person being monitored. Under Montana law, use of a GPS device with the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person is considered harassment by stalking.
Could Your Privacy Be at Risk?
It may seem unreal to consider, but there are some very common reasons why your privacy may be at risk. The first reason is business ownership. This includes even if you are a co-owner.
Corporate espionage is a very real concern if you own a business in Montana. Your competition or even an employee could be using hidden cameras, audio bugs, GPS devices, or even keyloggers and other apps to learn everything about your business in an attempt to take away your competitive edge. There could be hidden devices in your conference rooms or in the offices of working areas or your most important team members. You web conferencing system, phone conferencing system, computers, and cell phones could be under surveillance. Corporate vehicles, or even your personal vehicle, could have a hidden GPS or even a hidden camera or audio bug.
If you do not own a business, you could still be at risk. The most common reasons why hidden cameras, audio bugs, and GPS devices are used against Montana residents include:
- You are involved in a divorce or separation. You could have a disgruntled spouse that may be monitoring everything you do or say. They could be tracking everywhere you go and listening to every conversation you have. They could be reading your text messages and seeing everything you do online. They could be hoping to use any information they find on you in order to intimidate or frighten you. They may also be looking to use the information to ruin you.
- You are involved in a child custody dispute. Even if marriage was never an option that was on the table for you, 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 are an unfit parent or to blackmail you. Much like the previous scenario, your cell phone, landline, VOIP, web cam, and online activity could all be monitored. There are apps that hard to deploy. Don’t ever think that your devices are totally secure unless you have them checked out.
- You are involved in settling in insurance claim or you have a lawsuit for an injury of some kind. The other party could be looking to minimize what happened and take advantage of you. They may be tracking your every movement, videoing you, or even listening 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 with the growing technology being used more and more in situation where someone feels like they must monitor, and/or abuse their partner. These devices create a dangerous situation for the victim.
If you Believe You are Being Spied On, Take These Steps
- Don’t change your routine too much. Any big change in your routine can alert the person who placed the device. They may remove it before it can be found and plant it at a later date.
- Do not talk to anyone about your situation. This may seem counterintuitive, but you do not know where the device is or how many devices have been installed. You also don’t know who might be behind it. So, talking about it could alert the person who is spying on you. It’s important that you are 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.
- Get to a safe location, use a safe phone, and call Spy Catchers at 1-800-373-8726. We provide free estimates in Montana. Our professionals can sweep your home, business, and vehicle to help you get back your peace of mind.