Bugging, eavesdropping, GPS tracking, computer monitoring, cell phone spyware, are all considered illegal unless a court order is issued to law enforcement. With this being illegal, why is there a problem? Over the past 10 plus years as technology has advanced, the laws regulating the use and sale of these eavesdropping devices struggles to keep up. As a result, anyone can purchase these devices over the internet and sales are booming! What used to be only something that was used by law enforcement now can be purchased by anyone for as little as $40.00. They market these bugging devices as a tool to protect your child or monitor your own home for safety and security. The undertone of these ads is clear, “spy on your boss”, “spy on your spouse”, “spy on anyone”. Again, this is a multi-million dollar business and losses to business and individuals as a result is estimated to be in the billions.
So how do they get away with it? Again, it’s all about the marketing and disclaimers they put on the websites and packaging, “Intended for the protection of your children”, etc. If this was not so serious it would be laughable.
As an example, in Texas the law regulates the installation of GPS tracking devices but not the sales. Texas Penal Code Chapter 16, Without giving legal advice, in Texas you can only put a GPS tracker on an asset you own, name on title. No exception on community property. The obvious loophole is the sales of these devices as well as audio and video that are devised as covert.
Audio Bugging Devices
Audio bugs are audio surveillance devices that can be placed in a room, on a person, and left behind to work as covert transmitters or bugging devices. Audio bugs do not always look like bugging transmitters built onto a miniature chip board with an antenna and battery. Many audio bugs are disguised in order to limit their accidental discovery should one be noticed. Because of the need for secrecy, covert transmitters and other bugging devices upon first glance may resemble an electrical power strip, calculator, remote control, clock, or anything that can contain something as small as a quarter. No one would suspect that the true nature of those objects were actually bugging devices used for monitoring conversations.
Federal Law Reference
USC Title 18 Section 2512 (18 USC § 2512) is the federal law that regulates the manufacturing, possession, sales and solicitation of covert audio surveillance equipment. State laws vary from state to state, but most are similar to USC Title 18 Section 2512. Some even further outline the legal and illegal use of covert audio equipment.
TSCM America® receives emails and calls on daily basis in regards to “bugging and eavesdropping”. Our company protects the privacy of our clients whether it’s a corporation, small business, high-profile individual, political figure, or individual who believes they are a target of illegal eavesdropping.
TSCM America® is not a law firm nor gives legal advice, only our opinion is expressed or cited references. You should do your own due-diligence and understand your own state and federal laws.