Spy On Your Kids With Hi-Tech Snoopware

This company shows off the tools parents can use to spy on their children. You can get a keylogger that looks like just an extension to the USB keyboard. You can take their SIM card, transfer all the data to your computer, and then browse through all their calls and text messages using special software. You can install GPS in their shoes. You can use a handy little kit that easily and quickly detects the presence of semen on a surface.

They’re all less cost-effective than talking to your kids and listening to what’s going on, but we guess that’s too hard to package and sell that.

[via The Morning Show with Mike and Juilet]

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  1. howie_in_az says:

    “You can use a handy little kit that easily and quickly detects the presence of semen on a surface.”

    That’s quite disturbing. Not quite as bad as installing GPS in kids’ shoes, but disturbing nonetheless.

  2. SVreader says:

    “They’re all less cost-effective than talking to your kids and listening to what’s going on, but we guess that’s too hard to package and sell that.”

    But surely paranoia and spy tactics foster better parent-child relationships than communication!

  3. DeeJayQueue says:

    there is no part of this that I don’t find distasteful and disturbing, bordering on downright sick.

    The fastest way to get your kids not to trust you is to do crap like this. They only have to catch you once and they’ll never trust you again.

  4. INconsumer says:

    screw the kids i want this for my co-workers. lol.

  5. Buran says:

    wait a minute … shouldn’t we be taking stands AGAINST privacy intrusions considering all the crap the government is trying to weasel its way out of, and our reaction to said crap? This is just plain irresponsible.

  6. shan6 says:

    It makes me sick when I see how amazed and supportive the hosts are. Wake up and raise your children. This stuff wasn’t around when we were kids, are we honestly that skeptical of our own abilities as parents that we want to spy on kids to make sure they don’t do the SAME stuff we did as kids?

  7. JPropaganda says:

    @howie_in_az: Yea, but you know, those chunky shoes are really popular these days. Is it disturbing to hide a gps in a shoe when they’re just so *chunky*?

  8. coan_net says:

    Well for the computer, at this point I don’t ever plan on letting my child have a computer in his private room… but who knows what will happen when he becomes a teenager. (point is – no need to spy since I can see everything they do anyway)

    As for the GPS tracker – that is pretty cool. Depending on the cost, I would love to try that out. Not as much to “track” my child – but to make sure he is safe. That is when he goes out and plays with friends, make sure he is still in the neigborhood. When he is older, to put in the car to see where he is driving to and such.

  9. supra606 says:

    Disturbing. I have nothing else to say.

  10. Randal Milholland says:

    Once more, “We’re doing it for the safety of children” is the banner. This garbage is idiotic. A real parent shouldn’t need this stuff to do their job for them (and foster contempt and mistrust from the kid in the process) – and let’s be honest, most of this stuff is used on people besides children. The “we’re keeping kids safe” is a total snowjob.

  11. newlywed says:

    i am totally doing this for my kids. trust no one! especially when hormones are involved! sure, we didn’t have it when we were growing up, but we also didn’t have the internet, either…

  12. Finder says:

    Will someone PLEASE think of the children??

  13. tecmjl71407 says:

    Since when do we not trust our own kids to monitor them like I monitor my end users?

  14. rmz says:

    @coan_net: You are exactly the kind of parent that everybody’s complaining about. You justify spying on your children and tracking their every move as “protecting” them.

  15. LetMeGetTheManager says:

    Or you can save your money and invest in a thing called “parenting”.

    Some parents are getting way too lazy…

  16. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    I would have been the kid to figure this stuff out & use it against them. I.e. leave my shoes at a friend’s house, remove pins from the keylogger. I would have never had a cellphone as a juvenile, but other than that my parents were pretty content to let me have freedom as long as I didn’t screw up.

  17. Indecision says:

    @coan_net: “Not as much to “track” my child [but to] … make sure he is still in the neigborhood. When he is older, to put in the car to see where he is driving to and such.”

    So, you do want to track your child.

    Let me save you the trouble and expense, by the way. The very moment your child knows you’re doing this, two things will happen:

    1) He will very simply and quite easily work around the tracking in a way that you cannot detect, thus making it a useless waste of money. (The car tracking, for example: He’ll park it at the library or mall, and have a friend pick him up. His friends will be happy to cooperate, by the way.)

    2) Assuming you weren’t up-front about it, he will not trust you on anything for many years. Don’t underestimate the amount of damage this will do.

  18. XianZomby says:

    Children don’t have any expectation of privacy. Children are property. You can’t impart on a ten-year-old girl the kind of s*it that goes on outside her grade school. You can’t explain that people will lie to them online for months at a time to gain their trust, set up a rendezvous with them at the shopping mall or the 7-11, take them home and chain them up in the basement and sell access to their bodies to their sicko pedophile friends and then slit their throat and bury them in the woods when they get “too old” to be attractive.

    You don’t explain, or expect your explanation makes sense or reason with them. You tap their computer, because you own it, you own the connection, and you own your kids.

    Parenting is not a democracy. It’s a benevolent dictatorship.

  19. Trai_Dep says:

    Republican pols, citing anticipated shortfalls in volunteer donations as a result of CSI teen semen detectors, were very displeased with this news.

  20. etinterrapax says:

    I can see the safety aspects of the GPS tracker for a young child. Like all technology, there’s the potential for misuse. But I once read that the best way to keep track of what your kids are doing is to put the phone, the TV, and the computer in public areas of the house. No expectation of privacy. I’m not saying parents should nose into everything, but they do have a responsibility to know with whom their kids are communicating and what kind of entertainment they’re consuming. And I think kids’ sense of privacy today is badly overblown. Any time they’re doing something that needs to be hidden from their parents, they should be thinking trice about it.

  21. ChChChacos says:

    I just can’t stop shaking my head. This is what we’re coming to?

  22. rmz says:

    @XianZomby: Children are property.

    Child Protective Services would probably disagree with you on that one.

  23. newlywed says:

    i do have to laugh at the semen detector though…no pubescent boy’s bedroom is safe! perhaps this can be used by people who don’t believe in masturbation, too! LOL

  24. AndyRogers says:

    @all the fools who think this an invasion of kids “rights”:

    Kids today have access to stuff we could only DREAM about when we were kids and about 90% is nothing but trouble: myspace, facebook, cellphones, etc. A smart parent knows they can’t watch their kid full time AND talks to them. I’ll tell you, I was a respectful, straight arrow to my parents face growing up but as soon as they turned around… I was a coniving little B@stard. Kids use technology to get themselves into trouble every day. Now parents are joining the fight. Kids rights ONLY go as far as the parent allows (provided their not being abused). Parents have EVERY right to know what their children are up to at all times. NOTE: This isn’t an excuse to stop the actual “parenting” aspect of parenting.

  25. AndyRogers says:

    Oh – also – when kids pay THEIR OWN CELLPHONE BILLS and all the other things parents buy for the only to have it thrown back in their face when their darling child ends up smoking weed or having sex with 50 year old men, THEN they can complain. “Property” isn’t the right word. “WARD” is.

    Nothing presented by this report is abusive. Intrusive, maybe, but all within the right of the parent.

  26. mandarin says:

    @AndyRogers: I think this is more for younger kids and not kids who are too old to stay in their parents basement…

  27. whiteguy8055 says:

    @etinterrapax: As a computer tech who frequently made house calls to clean up spyware on PCs, I often had people ask me how best to keep their kids from going to wedsites they shouldn’t. They were hoping for some magic software that would keep everything at bay, but I would tell ‘em that the BEST thing that they can do is to move the PC to an open location in the house where you can literally look over their shoulder while they surf.
    The worse case were the three teenage boys who had the PC and highspeed internet in their bedroom, and would LOCK THE DOOR when they were surfing to keep Mom from seeing where they were going. Sad.

  28. BugMeNot2 says:

    COAN_NET, hopefully by that time you’ll be able to trust him and let him have his own responsbility.

    ANDYROGERS, intrusiveness has a negative effect and is a detriment to a childs personal growth. At some point, you have to let the child have his or her own personality responsbility..

    INDECISION, x2. And most likely he’ll feel a sort of resentment from then on.

    Intrusiveness is not good parenting, maturing the child into adulthood, one time and another, IS.

  29. cobaltthorium says:

    This is sick, on so many levels. What ever happened to critical thinking? Not only did the hosts agree with the guy profusely, but the one person who wanted to mention *actual* parenting was told to shut up. What the hell is wrong with the US that people are doing things like this to children?!?

    ALSO: “When to have that talk with your child”? You should no that I strongly support the abolishment of abstinence only Sex-ed. When kids are having sex, it’s too late. You’re failed as a parent to have that talk. Kids need to know about sex *before* they start having it, dumbasses.

    Keyloggers aren’t new. Neither are SIM card readers or GPS trackers. They’ve been around since the advent of the technologies they use. Marketing them towards parents is new, and disgusting. What ever happened to talking to your children? God damn it. The very fact that ONE OF THE HOSTS questioned the legality (and, in fact, the morality) of this should tell you that it’s probably not the best way to parent.

  30. DallasDMD says:

    Well, it doesn’t bother me so much that parents want to spy on their kids. I think its healthy to give your kids a little bit of freedom while they learn what life is all about, including the good and the bad. Experience is sometimes the best way to teach things.

    So, I say using these products in the context of a bit of “controlled freedom” (i.e. letting them have some free reign but seeing how responsible they are with it) isn’t a particularly bad idea.

    However, when it gets so bad that kids have absolutely no privacy and that the spying has gone on well into their teenage years with no relenting, then I think its a sign of overparenting and harmful to their development.

  31. cobaltthorium says:

    @whiteguy8055:
    Maybe if the mother had told them that she didn’t want them watching sex, and explained what it actually was, then they wouldn’t be so curious about it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s not much someone can do to satisfy the curiosity teenagers feel towards sex, but if they were informed, they maybe the mother would feel a little better about trusting them with their own computer.

  32. dapuddle says:

    Surrogate parenting to a whole new level. Give you child the tools to make their own sensible decisions and ya sure along the way there will be some bumps. However those bumps will be way less troubling than any of this crap!

  33. XianZomby says:

    @AndyRogers: Yes. I think “ward” is a better word than “property.” Thank you.

    And also… yeah, the “semen” detector is a little over-the-top. Everybody knows young men run a diagnostic on their reproductive system at least three times a day. Nobody needs to confront them with proof of that. That’s how you get boys that want to wear their mothers underwear.

  34. Indecision says:

    @XianZomby: “…run a diagnostic on their reproductive system…”

    That’s beautiful. I’m stealing that.

  35. catnapped says:

    @cobaltthorium: Those who are baffled what we’ve come to…haven’t you guys just happened to notice the “authoritarian mindset” (rule with an iron fist) which has set up in this country the past…oh…five years or so? The thinking is that kids are evil and misguided and will do bad things unless they’re smacked around and shown “who’s boss”.

  36. anonymouscoworker says:

    @AndyRogers:
    Every generation has access to tools and technology that the previous generation did not have, whether it’s Facebook and Myspace, Rock and Roll and Jazz, or Robots and Teleporters. Every time the adult generation sees something new that they fear and don’t understand, they run around like the sky is falling, and by the time they realize the sky never fell, the children have grown up without loving parents to communicate with.

  37. axiomatic says:

    Parents, do not use this tech. If you do, you will only make your children rebel even more.

  38. Starfury says:

    I’m going to have to check the computers at home now to see if my wife has put a keylogger on it…

    The PC my kids use (7 and 9) is in an open area. I’m trying to raise them well but have to compete with TV.

  39. cobaltthorium says:

    @catnapped:
    I’m notso much baffled by the host’s reaction – you’re right, of course. However, after following this site for a while now, I’ve got to say that I expected more intelligence from the average reader. I see a lot of posts from people who think this is a good thing. I’m just really surprised, that’s all.

  40. rhombopteryx says:

    I think we have a magnitude 6 WTF here…
    WTF?!?!? Not to spoil the house party or anything, but what about the fact that this violates multiple state and federal laws? It’s not even close! “Any person who intentionally intercepts any wire, oral, or electronic communication shall be guilty of” a felony or meisdemeanor. Hmm, don’t see a “for the kids” exception there. What’s next, The Morning Show has an episode on check kiting?

  41. Buran says:

    @XianZomby: People are not property. No one under 18 is a slave.

  42. Buran says:

    @rhombopteryx: What’s check kiting?

  43. GitEmSteveDave says:

    @rhombopteryx: If it’s your OWN line, then how is it against the law? You are not “intercepting” anything. You are either the originator, or the reciever. Now if you do the same thing to a neighbor, then yes, that’s intercepting.

    Your children have no privacy rights, as any connection they establish, since they are under 18, has been established by you.

  44. burgundyyears says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: Depends. At least in some states, absent a court order, both parties must consent to phone conversation recording or third-party listening (some states only require one party to consent), so at least if you can claim the right to do so over your own child, if the caller didn’t give permission, you might find yourself in trouble.

  45. redstarr says:

    While an interesting for parents (especially if your teen has already set off your red flags), I don’t think parents are the target market for these devices. I would say spouses and bosses are far more likely to be intrigued enough to buy these products. If you’re the kind of parent that is concerned enough to want to snoop on your kids activities, chances are you’re snooping enough the old fashioned way not to need the high-tech toys. But if you’re a boss or a suspicious spouse, you might be willing to pay to see what your employee or mate might be up to. Can’t say I’m not a little bit interested as an employer and as a wife.

  46. SaraAB87 says:

    This might be a good idea for young children and babies for safety purposes (putting the gps in their shoes), but you have to remember that kids know more about technology than parents, no matter how much parents try most cannot catch up to the kids. A kid is very likely to find out about this, especially if a friend, or website like this one alerts them to the fact that it is being done. If your hooking things like keyloggers up to your computer, your kid will probably find out about it. Then how are you going to explain it when your 8-10 year old finds that GPS device in his/her shoes? They will have lost your trust forever, you just wasted a lot of money and will have a lot of explaining to do.

  47. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    I love all of this s00per-seekrit parental spy stuff that it would take any moderately bright child about 10 minutes to circumvent.

    @XianZomby: If you can’t explain that to a ten-year-old, then please get sterilized. I got the “don’t talk to strangers” lecture when I was six, way before child abduction became the national hysteria, and had no problem wrapping my little brain around it.

  48. cde says:

    Kids are, as far as the law go, the property and extension of the parent/legal guardian. They can provide consent to phone taps over the child, etc. Especially with the advent of parents-go-to-jail-for-what-the-kid-did type laws. I’m not talking about the normal parents pay for the damages stuff.

  49. You can’t impart on a ten-year-old girl…

    @XianZomby: Why not? Are you saying you can’t tell them about rapists or that 10 year olds are incapable of understanding?

  50. Lennae says:

    I have one of those GPS trackers in my four year olds shoe. If something would ever happen to her it may help.

  51. skrom says:

    @Buran:

    Sorry, but kids dont have an expectation of privacy. As a parent or guardian YOU are responsible for everything they do so if they are being sneaky and or untrustworthy it may be time to resort to something like this. This is how you find out when they are doing things they have no business doing like going to parties/drinking, having sex, dating people you dont approve of, drag racing in their cars, and doing drugs. Otherwise itll all come back on you and YOU can pay the consequences. If more parents used things like these you wouldnt see the little punks out speeding around and sucking face at the mall.

  52. skrom says:

    @King of the Wild Frontier:

    Sure, you can talk to them till you’re blue in the face about what is right and wrong, the question is do they give a shit and are they going to listen to you. Since people are too worried about being their kid’s friend instead of their parent, they are scared to lay the hammer down and even more scared of getting out the wooden spoon or belt like my parents did. I never did any one bad thing more than once!!

  53. bookling says:

    @XianZomby: You can’t impart on a ten-year-old girl the kind of s*it that goes on outside her grade school.

    Sure you can. I understood it at eleven when I started regularly using the internet. “Be careful who you talk to online, don’t give out identifying information about yourself, and don’t agree to meet people.” It’s not really any different than the talk you give kindergarteners about not talking to strangers. When it comes to MySpace/Facebook, just make sure they set their profile to private and only friend people they know in real life. It is not that hard to keep your kids safe online, especially if you treat them like creatures capable of actual thought rather than miscreants whose every move must be monitored.

  54. mconfoy says:

    i find beating mine to be effective. i have a camera in each of their rooms hooked up to recorded monitors to make sure they don’t do any self-abuse. i home school them because they may try those things in the toilets at school too. being a parent means having complete control over their lives and if they step out of line at all, well pain is the consequence. even though they won’t love us when they are older, they are sure to respect our tough love.

  55. mconfoy says:

    @skrom: Sure but then you only make $42K a year, so something didn’t turn out quite right there. and also i see it taught you compassion too, [consumerist.com]

  56. cobaltthorium says:

    @mconfoy:
    Seems like some people may try to resort to that (I assume that you’re joking). The US has become such a nanny state, I’m left wondering how these kids will be adults when they grow up. It’s sort of sad that, even in Canada, you can vote to decide the leader of your country, you can die for your country in the military, you can even get married and drive a car, etc … but you can’t drink alcohol until you’re older. WTF? Seriously.

  57. ThyGuy says:

    Hoooooo-boy. This is interesting.

    I can see a way to use this and not make your kid feel like your inappropriately monitoring them. Keylogging… what are the restrictions. My restriction for my younger cousins is no pornographic sites. Any cousin over 14. Fuck it, I just warn them not to trust anyone who wants to meet you.

    GPS is tough. I don’t like the idea of someone being able to monitor me from anywhere I am. If I did put a GPS in my kids shoes; I would only use it if I feared for their lives, and I would let them know I have this for that purpose only.

    Cell phone tracker. No, the government does this already. Plus anyone under my responsibility knows I’m very fair.

  58. skrom says:

    @mconfoy:

    What does making $42,000 a year have anything to do with how well my parents raised me. Perhaps I have a job doing something I ENJOY instead of taking a job I HATE just to make more unnecessary money. See unlike most people I dont have to have the best of everything on the block. I dont live my life to make other people happy, I live my life to make ME happy. I could give 2 shits what someone else thinks of me!

  59. zolielo says:

    The GPS tracker could come in handy if it data logs to google earth so that I can see speed and location of myself over a given time after the fact.

    With the long distance driving that I often do, I am sometimes curious to see where I have been, for how long, and how quickly I moved from one point to the next.

    And GPS that can do the above?

  60. LucyInTheSky says:

    This is horrible! i am outraged! parents shouldn’t treat their children like criminals! WTF???

  61. Andrewcool says:

    Why track the Kids? Why not track the parents?

    Where is the website for this?

  62. drjayphd says:

    Well, I think we have indisputable visual evidence that this Mike fella’s the biggest tool on TV. If only he could be overturned.

    But as for the whole topic of the video… yeah, I’m in the “what happened to just talking to your kids?” camp. They aren’t exactly reaching out to you, so that’s in the hands of the parents.

  63. “You can’t explain that people will lie to them online for months at a time to gain their trust, set up a rendezvous with them at the shopping mall or the 7-11, take them home and chain them up in the basement and sell access to their bodies to their sicko pedophile friends and then slit their throat and bury them in the woods when they get “too old” to be attractive.”

    Hmm… sounds a bit extreme to me. Or are you speaking from first hand experience here?

    If you seriously can’t trust your kids enough that you have to be monitoring them via GPS you have quite serious problems. Do you want your kids to still be calling you when they’re thirty asking if it’s okay for them to go out for dinner with some friends?

  64. Jesse in Japan says:

    Just make sure you only use these to spy on your own kids.

  65. cobaltthorium says:

    @Jesse in Japan:
    Great point! These could be used to help child molesters! Won’t someone please, Think of the Children!

  66. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    @skrom: Since people are too worried about being their kid’s friend instead of their parent

    And there’s the crux of the problem; well put.

  67. mac-phisto says:

    @rhombopteryx: there doesn’t need to be an exception. legally, financial & morally, a parent is responsible for their children until they reach the “age of reason”. a parent doesn’t need a child’s permission b/c they have the right to grant their child’s permission for them.

    i don’t think it’s wise to start employing these devices from the get-go, but when the normal stuff isn’t working, sometimes you have to up the ante. kids are being exposed to more dangerous situations today at a younger age & they are simply not mentally prepared for it.

    a few local news articles i’ve read over the past week:
    -pre-teen busted for prostitution in sting
    -two teens arrested for torching $2mil home – twice
    -heroin use up among area high schoolers
    -high school coach arrested for sexual assault

    brave new world, indeed.

  68. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    @bookling:

    Yeah, even when I was ten (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and there was no internet), my mother would caution me when I was going to the movies:

    “Don’t go to the bathroom by yourself! There may be some bad man hanging around who *specializes* in 10-year-old girls.”

    Every year, she would change the age in her admonishment to match my age. She never elaborated on what she meant by *specializes*, but I got the message and obeyed her instruction. I even found out that some of my friends had been similarly cautioned by their own parents.

  69. rhombopteryx says:

    @GitEmSteveDave:

    and

    @MacPhisto:

    Maybe this whole illegal thing isn’t connecting… I’ll try it again. IT IS ILLEGAL.
    There is no “it’s my own kid” or “my own spouse” or “my own computer” exception to federal wiretapping & interception law, and similarly, most states don’t have an exception either. As the links in my first post indicate, when people assert that in court, the court says “no, you’re wrong, it’s a violation of the law.” State attorneys general spell it out on their own websites.
    You’re welcome to feel the way you do – and it’s a great sign that you care about kids and recognize how parents are responsible for them – but that doesn’t make surreptitious interceptions legal. Go ask a lawyer or look it up.

  70. mac-phisto says:

    @rhombopteryx: & we’ll try this again – a parent (or legal guardian) provides legal consent for the child until they are 18.

    now, let’s go back to one of those laws you’re talking about (electronic communications privacy act): It shall not be unlawful under this chapter for a person not acting under color of law to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication where such person is a party to the communication or where one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception…

    the state laws are very similar. as long as you have consent, you have a right to record. b/c a parent legally can provide consent for their child, they legally have a right to record.

    search lexus-nexus for some court records dealing with parental consent for a child & you’ll see that this concept is well supported in law.

  71. mac-phisto says:

    @mac-phisto: that’s lexis-nexis

  72. synergy says:

    Sounds like my mother’s wet dream. There was a reason I didn’t tell her anything. Mainly that she’d disagree with all of it. I believe my father once called her a Puritan. He wasn’t lying.

  73. jme349 says:

    Am I the only one here that thinks that some of this is just fun and kewl….

    I have no use for any of this.. and see both good and bad from “big brother” parents, but overall.. I just see having alot of fun playing with these devices!

  74. rhombopteryx says:

    @mac-phisto:

    @ this point we’ve kinda gotten away from the general rule that tapping or taping someone without their consent is illegal, and onto the little exception of a legal issue of who can consent for kids to maybe make it legal. I’m sure there are exceptions to speeding laws, too, but no one says “speeding” isn’t illegal. I understand where you’re coming from, but I don’t think even this exception applies in most cases like you think. You’re right that parents can often consent for kids, but that’s not absolute. Saying in general parents can consent for most things (like medical treatment, permission to ride carnival rides) isn’t the same as saying they can consent “on the kids behalf” to tapping the kid without his or her knowledge. Don’t take my word for it, listen to the courts of Washington and Michigan, as just two examples. They already disagree with you. They both say that under Washington, and federal and Michigan law, respectively, that parents can’t consent on their kids’ behalf to covert wiretapping of the kid by the parent.

    What’s more, parental consent might not even matter. Some states require both parties to consent to tapping or taping, others are ok with just one party consenting. All the parental consent in the world doesn’t allow a California mother to tap her California daughter’s phone call or email to her California boyfriend, for example, as both parties have to consent in California.

    There’s probably some state that may say a parent can consent on their kids behalf to covert wiretapping, and if that state is also a one-party consent state, and if the call stays in that state, and if the feds. in that circuit don’t already think the other way and decide to adopt the state court’s reasoning for the federal laws there, then it might not be illegal in that case. All in all that’s an awful narrow exception. I think you can safely say that its illegal to tap your kids.

  75. mac-phisto says:

    @rhombopteryx: listen, an excerpt from that first case says everything you need to know:

    The federal wiretap statute, which makes interception of communications legal where one party consents, has been interpreted to permit parents acting to protect the welfare of a child, to consent vicariously for their child to the recording of their child’s conversations. See, e.g., Pollock v. Pollock, 154 F.3d
    601, 620 (6th Cir. 1998); Scheib v. Grant, 22 F.3d 149, 154 (7th Cir. 1994); Newcomb v. Ingle, 944 F.2d 1534, 1536 (10th Cir. 1991); Janecka v. Franklin, 843 F.2d 110, 110 (2d Cir. 1988); Campbell v. Price, 2 F. Supp. 2d 1186, 1191-92 (E.D. Ark. 1998).

    it’s not a violation of federal law. period. it may be a violation of state law if your particular state requires dual-consent. even so, some dual-consent laws are written expressly for the purpose of defining whether the evidence is admissible in court. & even if it is illegal, is it enforced? i live in connecticut & although it is a dual-consent state, parents are encouraged to monitor their kids’ electronic activities.

  76. StormyBkln says:

    Let’s look at it this way, if a parent cannot keep tabs on their children without the use of these tools, the children are obviously more tech saavy than their parents. What makes you think that the kids can’t just circumvent these steps? So the parents are alienating their children, and still cannot keep tabs on them. Let me give you a bit of an example here:
    I got my first computer when I was 12. This was back in the days of DOS 5 and Windows 3.1. Back when the computers had security locks on them to prevent powering on the computer. Well, I used to stay up all night playing video games, so my parents decided to lock the computer. Well, first I figured out how to pick those round locks with two paper clips. Then, after fiddling around with the internals on the computer, I found out how to bypass the lock by simply unplugging the jumpers from the mainboard. When my parents found this out (probably by realizing that the lock no longer worked), they installed a start up application manager (remember, computers used to boot into DOS, not Windows) that was password protected. So, I realized that if I booted the computer with the DOS disk, I would bypass the app and get right into DOS to play my video games. Then they decided to remove the power cord at night. I bought my own. It was a cold war, and guess what, unless you as a parent are a sys admin, the kids are always going to win. And if you are, just get a CFS enabled firewall, etc… Otherwise, why bother?
    On a side note, that may have been the reason why I got into technology and now have a good job as a systems architect. So who knows, maybe pressing your kids to find ways around snooping will lead to lucrative careers?

  77. rhombopteryx says:

    @mac-phisto:
    So we obviously disagree on whether your exceptions swallow my general rule ;) My point is that it is illegal, including under the federal law, with some exceptions. I think you are over-focusing on the exceptions, and I’m sure lawyers could find even more cases to support them too. I don’t disagree that there are exceptions, but I’m trying to say that finding whether the combination of jurisdictions, statutes, and cases leave you in the “exceptions” category is tricky and narrow, and that’s before you even think about the person on the other end of the call or email. You may like the logic of the exceptions, they fit neatly with your ideas of “implied” consent, but I’m saying they still are exceptions.

    You’re also reading the first case far too wide – just because one court says it has (in some cases, and read those cases for their own limitations, too) been interpreted one way, doesn’t mean other courts haven’t said exactly the opposite. It’s a long jump from that half-sentence acknowledgement in a case that ultimately disagreed with you to your assertion that “it’s not a violation of federal law. period.”

    The second case, for example, says it is a violation of federal law. period. The court says:

    The sole issue is … whether a custodial parent of a minor child may consent on behalf of the child to the interception of conversations between the child and another party and thereby avoid liability under the Michigan eavesdropping statutes and the federal wiretapping act. … We conclude that they cannot.”

    I’ll leave it to a lawyer to find out if you have some exception that may make your case special, the plain words of the law notwithstanding, but I think its a very big risk to operate under the assumption that you might fall under the exceptions and might not be breaking state and federal laws, when people in roughly your situation have been found to be breaking the law.