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High Tech Spy Gear: When Does Investigation Become Invasion?


privacyWe clearly live in the modern age of high technology and this ability offers capabilities that society has never utilized before. Private investigations have traditionally been done by footwork, but in contemporary life investigators have many options that once were not available. However, there is a point where investigation can turn into privacy invasion and can often lead to interference charges. It is important to understand that any target of this type of scrutiny also has individual rights and those rights can be violated easily if the pursuant decides to file a civil case.

Invasion of Privacy

Invasion of privacy can occur in many forms. The United States Constitution gives individuals the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy. What does that actually mean? The whole legal system is based on the concept of reason. This is effectively the sliding scale of common law, which is the type of legal system employed in the United States. This gives judges latitude in any case and also gives a perceived victim ample room to file a legal claim. These cases most often are involved in divorces, but can extend to other areas of society. According to our Orlando family lawyers, if someone’s privacy has been invaded the legal claim can also become criminal. An investigation that appears to be invasion can also be legally perceived as stalking. Stalking is illegal and can constitute a criminal history. The line is often blurry between these concepts. An experienced investigator will know where to draw the line. If you hire one, then let them do their job.


The standard for establishing a defamation case is much lower than people understand. A “private” figure needs only to prove as a material fact in a court of law that one person has viewed them in “diminished light.” It only takes one other person to establish a defamation case. Investigating an individual is largely a legal undertaking, but no one has a right of interference in another person’s life unless they are legally connected. Again, this is a blurry line in a case whee an individual is attempting to establish grounds for a divorce. Being married does not necessarily eliminate privacy issues. Reason is still a large component of the court ruling and is especially true in cases of legal separation. Legal separation enforces all aspects of privacy.

Knowing the Difference

If the information gathered is presented in a court of law and found to be immaterial, then the party that instigated the activity can easily be held liable and it can be detrimental to an equitable settlement of any divorce or other legal connection. Public figures are held to a different standard because public opinions can be formed. Private citizens do not have the component of public opinion as part of their reasonable expectation of common living.

Always remember that the purpose of a personal investigation is the information and not the person. True information can still be considered civil negligence and can be pursued in a court of law for monetary damages. This is a fine legal lie to walk. These are rarely compensatory damages and punitive damages can range widely. Assembling the information for a proper legal motion can be effective, but it is important to not be so aggressive that it impedes he life of the investigation target or can be legally assessed as a criminal charge of stalking.

Chris Bennett is a divorce rights advocate and legal researcher for The law firm of Katz and Phillips, Orlando family lawyers. Divorces can be one of the most complicated processes of a lifetime and it is imperative that one seek competent counsel before making any major decisions. Let them help you through this difficult process and assist you in understanding your rights.

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  1. John

    December 30, 2012 at 10:40 am

    These are good points, and a very slippery slope. It would seem that one would have to a very big probably cause to start something like this.

  2. Jide

    September 12, 2016 at 3:07 am

    You really made some good points about privacy and spy gear. Not a lot of people know about these things. Thanks!

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