In some cases, Spy Gear can be crucial in getting the evidence you need in your investigation. With developments in technology, devices that were previously only used by governments and the military are now available to the public. Such products fall into two main categories: software and physical products.
Software is designed to be installed on computers or smartphones. Physical products, such as GPS trackers, operate autonomously. Both types of spy tools can be used independently or combined with other, traditional investigative techniques.
While devices can be useful, it’s important to use them properly. In today’s do it yourself culture, people endeavour to solve problems themselves. Doctors continually warn DIY patients to get a professional diagnosis rather than try to solve problems themselves and the same principle applies in investigations.
Keep in mind that once a person knows he or she is under investigation, it becomes much harder to gather the evidence you seek. Also, if you have used spy products unlawfully, any evidence you have gathered may not be able to be used in court and, importantly, you run the risk of being convicted of a crime and doing jail time!
So, if you are considering using an investigative product, make sure it’s what you need to solve your case. This article contains some pointers about how to use surveillance products properly. Alternatively, an experienced investigator can let you know whether you need Spy Gear or whether surveillance or some other investigative technique is more appropriate.
Most physical products perform one or two types of tasks whereas spyware typically performs multiple tasks. For example, a GPS tracker enables the user to monitor the location of the tracking device – some GPS devices also allow sound recording.
Different spyware products allow monitoring of different types of activity on phones, tablets or computers. What can be monitored depends on the software you use, the device it is installed on and other variables.
Do your research before buying a product to make sure it is suitable for your needs.
A prudent Private Investigator always appraises the risks before carrying out any investigation. While surveillance products can be useful, there are two main risks that arise when using them.
Firstly, there is the real risk that you will break the law in using the product and be charged with a crime. Secondly, if you use Spy Gear and the person being investigated discovers he or she is under investigation, it will be very hard to investigate that person further for the time being. Better to try truly discreet methods first before rolling the dice and employing a higher risk strategy. Also, some people will react violently when they discover they are under investigation so caution is urged.
Unfortunately, many sellers of devices or spyware are either not cognisant of the laws or do not care to tell consumers about them so it’s up to you to make sure you don’t get into any trouble.
While we cannot give legal advice, the laws with respect to the use of spy products are fairly clearly expressed in legislation. This does not mean they are widely understood however. We always encourage anyone considering using spy products to seek legal advice to ensure they are acting lawfully.
For some bureaucratic reason, the regulation of surveillance devices is still split up between the states and territories in Australia. This means that the laws vary slightly between each jurisdiction which does not make it easy for the consumer to understand what is permissible.
As a general guide, if you are using a spy product to investigate someone, you usually need that person’s consent. Let’s start with a relatively straightforward example. Under the state’s Surveillance Devices Act, in NSW you may use a tracking device to effectively determine the geographic location of a person only with that person’s consent (implied or express). So, if you use a GPS tracker, or spyware, to track a person’s location and that person has no idea you are doing so, you will be in breach of the Act. The definition of tracking device here includes spyware on a phone or really any program that enables the monitoring of a geographic position. Similar laws prevail in Victoria, WA and SA.
At the time of writing however, we understand QLD has no laws precluding the monitoring of a person’s geographic location using a tracking device. So, consent appears not to be relevant in QLD. This is an example of the differing laws between jurisdictions and shows the importance of doing some research first.
Monitoring private conversations that you are not a party to is a breach of the law in every jurisdiction in Australia. In most jurisdictions, it is possible to record a conversation you are a party to without the consent of the other parties in certain circumstances, for example, if it is reasonable necessary to protect your lawful interests. You should be careful that this is permissible in your jurisdiction and should be careful who you speak to about the recording. As always, legal advice should be sought if this is something you need to examine.
Monitoring the usage of a computer or a smartphone becomes a complex legal issue as there are not only your state’s surveillance laws to consider but also federal laws regarding unauthorised access to information in a computer. To get a definitive opinion about this kind of monitoring, a legal opinion is a must.
There are fewer restrictions on video recording but they also differ between states.
It is clear that spy products can be useful. If you have the consent of the party you are monitoring, like an employee, a child or an elderly family member, a device or some spyware could help you lawfully monitor work performance, location and wellbeing. If you don’t have consent, it’s important to do some research and make a judgement about whether the spy product is right for you.
Note that some additional laws can apply for employees, for example the Workplace Surveillance Act adds some stipulations about how employees can be lawfully monitored.
Do you have a question about spy Gear? Ask a Lyonswood investigator Today.