Is It Illegal To Listen In On Your Kids' Phone Calls?

from the questions-questions-questions dept

As various internet service providers and third party software firms are pushing software on parents that lets them eavesdrop on their kids’ surfing habits, parents might want to be aware of a recent court ruling up in Washington state. The ruling didn’t focus on the internet, but found that a mother who listened in on her daughter’s phone call broke wiretap laws. The article, written for a Connecticut newspaper, then goes on to discuss whether or not the same ruling would apply in that state — and it’s a bit tricky. Part of the rationale for the ruling in Washington is that state wiretap laws require both parties to agree to be recorded. Connecticut (and most other states) only have a one person requirement — but in the case where a parent is eavesdropping, the question then becomes whether or not they, as a legal guardian, have the right to give the consent to be wiretapped for their kid. Of course, this is just one of the many reasons why kids get mobile phones. However, with internet access, a similar question arises, but not many seem to have dealt with it. It’s likely that similar cases will start to show up when people feel their privacy is violated by their parents spying on their online activities. Of course, some might point out that talking to your kids and trying to build a trusting relationship (not always easy, of course) might be a better way to keep them out of trouble than spying on them.

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Comments on “Is It Illegal To Listen In On Your Kids' Phone Calls?”

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D.R. (user link) says:

Police asked the mom to wiretap daughter!

In the Washington cour case, the police asked the mother to listen in.

There’s a huge difference between “should it be unlawful for a parent to eavesdrop on their minor child’s telephone or cell conversation” to “should what a parent hears while wiretapping their child be allowed to be entered into evidence in court”.

See for details.

Steve Mueller (user link) says:

Trust But Verify

Of course, some might point out that talking to your kids and trying to build a trusting relationship (not always easy, of course) might be a better way to keep them out of trouble than spying on them.

Wasn’t it Mikhail Gorbachev who said, “Trust, but verify”? You can trust your child, but is verifying that trust necessarily wrong?

straight talk says:

No Subject Given

Yeah, trust your kids, until they get arrested for drug possession or breaking into a store or vandalizing the school. Then blame television and the internet and rap music for your bad parenting. If you trust your kids, you are an idiot. Kids will push whatever boundaries you set for them. If you don’t set any, don’t be surprised when they end up on the five o’clock news in handcuffs.

Kieyona says:


i am a 15 year ol student and i think that the young girls rights was violated when her mother listened on her convo’s. This clearly stated that her mother didn’t trust her daughter. i would have been devastated if that would have happened to me. i would be scared to geton the phone woth guys or muh girl-friends and talk personal with them without thinking that my mom was on the phone. I wanna know if her mother will sent to jail for listening or fined any kind of fee. If you kow then answer please write back thank-Kieyonna Baltimore,Md

lil b (user link) says:

i dont understand

ok i am a teen and just recently i had my friends stay the night with me and we were talking gurl issues and the whole guy thing ya know and 10 minutes into our conversation my father walks in and tell me to turn my head so i did and he put the phone on my ear and told me to say hello just as i did i heard my voice but it wasnt coming from that phone a month ago my dad gave me my own phone for my room but come to find out it wasnt bcause he wanted to be cool or anything he wanted to listen to my phone calls and my conversations in my room now if this was my mom i wouln’t care but this is my dad the one who doesnt want me to date till i get married ok but my friend who was over was teling me personal thing and i read that was illegal unless the other party agrees to have them selfs recorded

and now my dad wants the guys we were talkin about to come over and listin and also he wants to share the tape with my family

i dont understand

and i need advice

please e-mail me

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