Articles Tagged with spying

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Dear Carolyn,

I am a mother with primary custody of a nine-year-old daughter. The father has visitation. For Christmas, he bought our daughter a smartphone for Christmas, but he did not discuss this with me. He had spyware on the smartphone that allowed him to see her opening the Christmas present.  I thought that he disengaged the spyware after she opened the present, but I just found out that the spyware is still engaged on my daughter’s phone. This smartphone allows him to track everywhere we go.  He told our daughter to be sure to keep the phone with her, particularly when she is with Mommy. His spying makes me feel eerie. We are divorced, so why does he want to know where I am? What should I do?

Carolyn Answers…

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By Carolyn J. Woodruff, JD, CPA, CVA—North Carolina Family Law Specialist

CarolynOne of my favorite stars is Gwen Stefani. She manages a life of motherhood, career with celebrity status, and fashion.  And, now she has just completed a divorce with her thirteen-year marriage to Gavin Rossdale, which produced Apollo (almost two); Kingston (age 9) and Zuma (age 7).  Rumors swirl that Gavin had an affair with the nanny, and Gwen apparently found nude photos of the nanny and plans for Gavin and the nanny to meet for sex—all found on the family iPad. The information on the family iPad yielded an abrupt end to this marriage.  Gavin had naughty behavior that uploaded from his iPhone to the cloud and downloaded to the linked family iPad.

Yes, this unintentional spying could happen in the North Carolina divorce. Why?  The iCloud (or any cloud), iPad, iPhone and other electronic devices are everywhere, and they link to each other.  While perhaps we all know this, we are trusting, I believe or maybe simply not observant.   There is the substantial risk that the children could see the naughty electronic evidence.

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By Carolyn J. Woodruff, JD, CPA, CVACarolyn 

There are lots of times many Piedmont Triad and other North Carolinians wish that they could put a GPS tracking device on an ex’s car.  Maybe you want to know who the “other woman” or “other man” is.  Maybe you want to see what the father or mother of your child is doing.  Maybe you want to see if your ex is going to strip clubs.  Whatever your reason or mindset, North Carolina has recently enacted new legislation you need to know, and you need to know now!!!

The North Carolina legislature has enacted amendments to North Carolina General Statutes Section 14-196.3 on the crime of cyberstalking.  The definition of Cyberstalking now includes electronic tracking devices (GPS). The electronic device may be the type that is hardwired into a car or attached to the car with a battery powering the GPS.   It is now unlawful in North Carolina to attach a GPS advice to another person’s vehicle except in certain situations, which should be VERY CAREFULLY EVALUATED.  After this new statute, you have to be very careful.

The North Carolina Business Court on October 5, 2015, issued a brilliant opinion regarding the GPS cyberstalking issue.  HSG, LLC v. Edge-Works Manuf. Co, 205 NCBC 87.  In HSG, one defendant claimed HSG “meddled with his personal vehicle by attaching a GPS tracking device to it.”   The HSG well-written opinion essentially indicates that the attaching of the GPS was not the Tort of Invasion of Privacy, something divorce attorneys have long worried about regarding the use of GPS devices in divorce cases.

However, effective December 1, 2015, NCGS 14-196.3 clarifies the GPS issue for all of us.  Use of a GPS outside the bounds of this amended statute is cyberstalking and rises to the level of a Class 2 misdemeanor for offenses committed after December 1, 2015.

There are several notable exceptions:

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1.     Change your email address and password when you begin your family law case. Change your computer and cell phone, if possible. Electronic devices, computers, and cell phones can be serious “leaks” of information and strategy in your case.

 

Email trespass is probably the leading “technology” problem in family law cases. You will probably exchange many strategic emails with your family law attorney, and what a shame if all of your strategy is uncovered by your ex-spouse from accessing your email.

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