Spyware and Spouses

September 26, 2012

An Ohio woman, Catherine Zang, filed suit in the U.S. District, Southern District of Ohio after discovering her husband used microphones to record conversations and software to copy her e-mails and instant messages. (Docket No. 1:11CV00884) Catherine and Joseph Zang were in the process of divorcing when Catherine discovered recordings, which she believes went on for months at the least. She surmises that her husband planned to use private communications against her to gain an advantage in divorce proceedings.

The case raises issues of privacy and surveillance in the marital home by a spouse. Chief Judge Dlott must weigh the specific issue of the rights of the husband to set up spy gear in the home against the privacy rights of his wife in the same home. Federal wiretapping laws may also be implicated as internet conversations between Catherine and an out-of-state friend were recorded. (18 U.S.C.A. 2511)

A growing concern in modern society is the development of higher quality and lower cost surveillance equipment. With increased accessibility to cameras, microphones and spyware, it’s believed there is a substantial number of victims of invasions of privacy who remain unaware they’re being target or are ashamed to prosecute perpetrators. Unfortunately, as the wheels of justice turn slowly, the law has yet to catch up to technological advancements.

Perhaps a sense of urgency is what we need to develop next.

For additional materials on this issue, the following advanced queries may be run on WestlawNext:


TI(inva! /2 privacy & technolog!) (2)
Content: Secondary Sources
Jurisdiction: All State & Federal

adv: DI,SY(eavesdrop! (inva! right /3 privacy) spy) and TO(divorce) (113)
Content: Family Law Cases
Jurisdiction: All State & Federal
The topic KeyNumber for invasion of privacy is 379IV.

inva! /2 privacy /p advanc! /5 technolog! (52)
Content: Cases
Jurisdiction: All State & Federal


spy! eavesdrop! /p husband wife spouse /s home residence house /200 right /2 privacy (6)
Content: Overview
Jurisdiction: All State & Federal