Hidden Cameras, Audio Bugs, and GPS Devices in Wisconsin: What Does the Law Say?
If you live in or own a business in Wisconsin, you understand how technology helps you stay in touch with friends, loved ones, clients, and potential clients who live and work in another city, state, or even another country. Yet, while technology is meant to make our lives easier, it is often used for nefarious reasons. Hidden cameras, audio bugs, and GPS devices are used to spy on others. This happens more than you might realize. Finding out someone is spying on you is both shocking and scary. In many cases, it can even put you in physical danger. What does Wisconsin law say about the use of hidden cameras, audio bugs, and GPS devices?
Hidden Camera Use in Wisconsin
Wisconsin law explicitly forbids the use and installation of hidden cameras without the consent of the person who will be recorded or monitored. It is a crime to record someone in any space that has a reasonable expectation of privacy. It is a felony to view, broadcast, or surveil another person without a valid warrant. That includes a person’s home, office, and even their hotel room. In addition to it being illegal to install and use a hidden camera, it is also illegal to watch another person through the hidden camera. Doing so is considered a misdemeanor under state law.
Audio Bug Use in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a one-party consent state when it comes to monitoring or recording any conversation taking place. This means that a conversation involving two or more people, even in what could be considered a private space, must have the consent of at least one person in order for the monitoring or recording to be considered legal. Wisconsin makes it clear that failure to get consent from at least one person involved in the conversation may be charged as a felony. In addition to being a felony, the person intercepting the conversation may also face a civil lawsuit filed by the victim.
GPS Device Use in Wisconsin
Wisconsin law considers the unauthorized use of GPS device as a violation of the state’s stalking laws. This means that it is unlawful to install or use a GPS device without the knowledge or consent of another person. Doing so without a warrant or without the knowledge and consent of the other party may lead to felony charges. According to Wisconsin law, the use of GPS device to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, or their family, employer, or co-worker is considered stalking.
Common Reasons Someone May Spy on You If You’re in Wisconsin
You may think it seems like a ridiculous notion that someone may be spying on you, but it does happen in Wisconsin more often than you might think or believe. And, yes, it happens to average people who aren’t public officials. Here are the most common reasons why someone may be spying on you:
- You own or co-own a business. If you consider yourself to be a regular person who lives and runs a business of any size in Wisconsin, you may not think that you’re a likely target for this sort of illicit activity. Corporate espionage is a very real concern if you own a business of any size in Wisconsin. Your competition or an employee (or former 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. Angry former employees could be looking to ruin your business. The use of keyloggers helps the other person see everything that you type on your cell phone or computer. There could be hidden devices in your conference rooms, offices, or working areas for your most important team members. Your web conferencing, phone conferencing computers, and cell phones are all subject to being monitored. Corporate vehicles, or even personal vehicles, could have hidden GPS devices or audio bugs.
- You’re getting a divorce or separating from your spouse. Certain types of surveillance may be used against you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. Your email, social media, cell phone, and your computer (including everything you do online) could all be monitored. Your web cam may be turning on to watch you without your knowledge. Hidden cameras and audio bugs could be hidden in your home. They could be attempting to use anything they find to threaten, blackmail you or just to ruin your life.
- You’re fighting for custody of your child. Even if you were never married to the other parent, a child custody dispute could lead to hidden cameras, audio bugs, GPS devices, and keyloggers being used against you. Many parents will do this and claim it is to ensure their child’s safety, but it does not mean it is legal. Their motives likely aren’t as pure as they want everyone to believe. They could be looking to get information to scare you or blackmail you.
- You are in or you left a bad relationship. Intimate partner violence and tumultuous relationships are very serious issues that can lead to dangerous and deadly consequences. Technology is often used to stalk, harass, and continue to abuse victims and survivors. Technology has made it easier for abusers to maintain control over their victims. This can create serious safety issues for you.
- You are being stalked. You may not know who is doing this or much less why they’re doing it, but hidden cameras, audio bugs, and GPS devices are just a few of the tools used to victimize and endanger others.
Take These Steps If You Think You’re Being Spied On by Another Person
If you live in Wisconsin and believe someone may be spying on you, here are the precautionary steps you should take in order to ensure you safety:
- Don’t change up your routine too much. If you do, the person who planted the device or devices could be alerted that you know something isn’t right. They may remove the device or devices before they can be found. While we know you certainly don’t want them around, you need them if you want to find out who is behind it and to look into whether you’re able to press charges or bring a civil lawsuit for civil damages.
- Don’t discuss it. You don’t know how many devices there are or where they’re hidden. You don’t know for sure who placed them, either. Talking about it could alert the person who is spying on you. They might remove them and plant them later. If you want to find them, you must act like you don’t know they’re present. This improves the odds that they will be found.
- Get to a safe location, use a safe phone, and call Spy Catchers at 1–800-373-8726. We provide free estimates in Wisconsin. Our professionals can sweep your home, business, and vehicle to help you get back your peace of mind and your privacy. To learn more about how our services work and how we may be able to help, call us right away.