More and more divorcing couples are using surveillance equipment to spy on their spouses, lawyers warned.
Maguire Family Law said that one in five of the 400 people they support to get a divorce use spy devices to spy on their spouses.
The proportion of spouses using such technology has increased by 60% in recent years, with the company claiming that one in eight filing for divorce spied on their partner ten years ago.
James Maguire, chief executive of the law firm, said The independent more men than women secretly register their partners.
He added: “I would often see a man use secret recordings to ‘prove’ something, like an affair, that he is the injured party or that it is just controlling and intrusive.
“Women record – sometimes for the same reasons – but the general idea is to really protect yourself, that is, to get evidence of violent or abusive behavior.
He said the examples of spyware they encounter are only “the tip of the iceberg” as he warned that “many more will go undetected”.
Mr. Maguire, who has been a family lawyer for 25 years, noted that trust levels are at a “low point” when a relationship breaks down and the use of surveillance equipment can make it worse. problem.
He added, “For the person who feels the need to register their partner, it can make the fears or anxiety worse. If you are looking for something, you will find it.
“And then for the person who is registered, it can sometimes be a real shock to the system. Maybe their confidence was at a reasonable level and it’s crumbling. This leads to more animosity. For both parties, the result is always negative.
He said women have become more independent in terms of careers, personal finances and life in general over the past decades and some men have been unable to “accept” it.
“It seems to be a default position for some but not all men, so there has to be an affair,” he added. “Spouses use tracking devices, on-board cameras and install spyware on cell phones. Some are quite sophisticated.
The lawyer said he believed the growing number of people using recording equipment was due to technological advancements. Previously, people discovered deals by snooping on partner’s cell phones, but this is more difficult now due to many devices with passcodes, he added, which means partners can resort to spyware.
Another lawyer for the firm, who did not want to be named, added: “Many examples over three decades of husbands secretly recording what is happening in the bedroom with their wives and then using it to blackmail them. Back then it was VHS or camcorders, but now it’s a lot easier.
Roger Bescoby, director of a surveillance company called Conflict International, has warned that spyware is cheaper and more accessible than ever. He said people did not need to have the skills of a former MI6 officer to operate the equipment, as he warned cars were “increasingly preferred targets” for spyware.
He said: “In terms of where we’ve found devices, the list is endless. However, the more unusual ones include a plush toy, a model ship, and even a box of cornflakes on a kitchen shelf.
“Secret recordings are generally not admissible in court, including divorce courts. There is a right to privacy and violation of this right may result in prosecution.
“They can also give rise to breach of trust and possibly data protection issues. Therefore, a secret recording might not turn out to be the “smoking gun” that the client thinks it is and, worse yet, could open a “Pandora’s box” of possible legal privacy claims. . “