child custody
divorce
family law
need help

CHATSWOOD FAMILY LAW & DIVORCE LAWYER

Our Chatswood Family Lawyer Will Help You Understand Electronic Snooping.

If you are currently going through a difficult and contentious divorce, you may be concerned that your spouse has engaged in electronic snooping, or you may even wonder what the ramifications might be if you decide to do some electronic snooping of your own. In short, electronic snooping—which can range from recording private conversations over Skype to reading your ex-spouse’s emails without his or her permission—can be illegal in the State of New South Wales. It is important to understand when electronic snooping can be illegal, and when exceptions to the rule can permit evidence from electronic snooping to come into a family law case in New South Wales.

If you have questions about electronic snooping and family law, a Chatswood Family Lawyer can assist with your case.

EAVESDROPPING LAW AND HOW IT RELATES TO ELECTRONIC SNOOPING

When most of us hear the term eavesdropping, we think of a scenario in which we physically overhear another person’s conversation. However eavesdropping can also involve snooping into private electronic communications, such as telephone conversations, Skype conversations, texts or email messages.

The law does not allow a person to intercept, authorise or do any act or thing that will enable him or her to intercept a communication passing over a telecommunication system. The law also does not allow a person knowingly install, use or cause to be used or maintain a listening device to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a private conversations which the person is not a party or to record a private conversation to which the person is a party. In other words, if a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to an electronic communication, then snooping may be a violation of the law.

There are only a handful of exceptions to the law. First, we should note that, if both parties consent to the recording of or snooping into a private conversation, the law will not likely apply. Without consent, some of the following may be exceptions to the rule

  • Electronic communication is not “surreptitious.” In other words, if private electronic communication is out in the open, then the law may not apply.
  • Eavesdropping was designed to collect evidence of a crime.
WHEN ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS ARE OUT IN THE OPEN AND MAY BE USED IN DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS

There are many forms of electronic communications that are not private and that may be able to function as evidence in a family law proceeding. Most often, these kinds of communications are on social media sites, such as:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter; and
  • Instagram.

There are other social media sites in which electronic communication may not be private for the purposes of state or federal law. It is important to emphasise, however, that email accounts and text messaging accounts are not likely to be exceptions to the rule.

CONTACT A CHATSWOOD FAMILY LAWYER

If you are concerned that your ex is engaging in electronic snooping, or if you have questions about whether certain electronic information is relevant to your case, an experienced Chatswood Family Lawyer can help. Contact Chatswood Family Lawyers online, by email at enquiries@chatswoodfamilylawyers.com.au or by phone on (02) 9412 4500.