It is illegal and actionable for a third person to intercept or record your private communications, conversations, and stored electronic data. This criminal conduct can range from a wiretap to listen in on phone conversations, interception of email communications, and even programming your cell phone to to act as a "bug" when you are not using your cell phone. In this electronic age, one can expect that illegal surveillance will only increase as surveillance devices become cheaper and more readily available. But these eavesdroppers can be made to pay a price.
If your right to privacy has been violated by a wiretap or other unauthorized interception of electronic data or communications, your rights under the federal Wiretap Act,
Victims of wiretaps and intercepted communications can turn the tables on their perpetrators. Federal law provides for civil damages starting at a minimum of $10,000. Many juries would consider the invasion of privacy alone to be worth more than that.
Wiretaps are illegal unless very stringent warrant procedures are followed. Wiretap and similar evidence, if illegally obtained, is never admissible in any federal, state or local court. Even the attempt to use such illegally obtained evidence will result in civil damages in favor of the victim.
I see wiretap cases in primarily in divorce and business settings, but they can arise anywhere. In the field, detecting wiretaps and other methods of intercepting private conversations and data is called "Technical Surveillance Countermeasures," or TSCM. If you believe you may be the victim of a wiretap or other interception of private information, call me immediately to discuss your options. I will assist you in obtaining an investigator and guide you through the process to determine if you have a case.
A leading investigative firm in detection of wiretaps and other surveillance is International Investigators, Inc., providing nationwide TSCM services. Tim Wilcox is an expert in all aspects of TSCM. Learn more about TSCM by clicking International Investigators, Inc.
Inmate or prisoner wiretaps create special issues of consent under the Wiretap Act. If you are incarcerated or phoning someone who is, assume that your conversations are recorded and will be used against you. Click here to learn more.
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