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article imageOp-Ed: James Bond gadgets to turn divorces into an arms race

By Eko Armunanto     Mar 9, 2013 in Technology
Lawyers say today's technology is turning divorces into an arms race. Gerry Lane, a marriage counselor in Atlanta, says almost every infidelity case he sees started with a spying spouse online.
An interesting article from the Wall Street Journal explains how new "Bond-like gadgets" are transforming divorces as suspicious spouses are easily able to take investigations into their own hands. Technology has made the gadgets more affordable and easier to use.
The article refers to many modern-day divorce cases such as the one in which a Minnesota man Danny Lee Hormann, aged 46, suspected his wife was having an affair. He installed spying software on his wife's cellphone and the family computer, and stuck a GPS device to her car, letting him follow her to a lakeside cabin one night.
Calling the spying awful, his wife Michele Mathias, aged 51, denied the accusation. She was so worried about her husband's spying that she and her children searched their garage for cameras and held whispered conversations on the lawn in case he was recording indoors. "It wasn't just invasion of my privacy. It was an invasion of the privacy of everyone who ever texted me or anyone who was ever on my computer", she said.
The spying got the man sent to prison for 30 days, convicted of stalking his wife. He said whenever he tell people about this, the answer was "I would have done the same damn thing".
Spouses who choose to eavesdrop on their spouse need to be cautious. Serious consequences are waiting for the unwary eavesdropper. However, companies selling the Bond-like gadgets have special ideas on what technology to choose and how to use it as powerful spying gadget, such as this one saying:
"Catch a Cheating Spouse. SpyGear4U offers the best products on the market for catching cheaters. We guarantee it! Statistics show that cheating is more prevalent today than ever before. With the availability of the internet, it has become very easy to have an online affair. Recent studies reveal that 45-55% of married women and 50-60% of married men engage in extramarital sex at some time or another during their relationship. Do these infidelity statistics seem a bit startling?".
GPS trackers sales are soaring, a BrickHouse Security executive said sales of tiny devices that can be placed in a bag or clothing have been almost doubling each of the past three years. Another maker, LandAirSea Systems, said that so far this year it has sold about 15,000 of the devices, some of which magnetically attach to cars, already surpassing 2011's full-year sales. SpygearGadgets.com said sales of nannycams and hidden cameras are up 40% this year, and GPS tracking devices almost 80%.
As more and more information is transmitted through e-mail, social media and smartphones, husbands and wives are increasingly snooping on their counterparts' communications and whereabouts — sometimes illegally. It's an evolving aspect of divorce cases in which technology quickly outpaces the law's ability to keep up. The end result is a gray area with little settled law and a lot of lingering questions, said Brian Haas on Wahington Post refering to a similar case.
As these electronic devices and sophisticated spyware become more available to individuals, more suspicious spouses are using them to expose marital partner transgressions. Marriage counselors say that many spouses, who become concerned with potential infidelity of their partners, become obsessed with finding out the truth. Attorneys find increasing "betrayal evidence" provided by cell phones in the past three years alone. Courts are trying to define the reasonable expectation of privacy standard, in light of this use of spy gear.
The old days of letter-writing and notes under the plants are bygone. People today are too impulsive. Indeed, cheating in 21st century requires cleverness. The more sophisticated the cheat, the more elaborate the scheme. Casteel, a private investigator, once chased a man who'd set up a parallel life with his lover in a separate town. They owned a house together and had a child. All the while, his wife was buying a cover story that only a fertile imagination could conceive. The cheating hubby explained his long absences by telling that he was on a secret mission. No tracking his calls — our national security depends on it! Or so she thought. His employer, he said, was the CIA.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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