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Is it “controlling” to have security recording devices in a home that you own?

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Old 5th July 2013, 4:39 PM   #1
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Is it “controlling” to have security recording devices in a home that you own?

This seems to be a hot topic in a different thread I made specifically for opinions regarding whether or not reasonable people would conclude that my girlfriend cheated.

Specifically, a few posters there have said that having a security recording device in one's own home is "controlling". Do you believe that to be true? If so, why?
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Old 5th July 2013, 4:55 PM   #2
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If the purpose of the security recording device is to be checked only in the event of a break-in or some security breach, then it's fine.
However, if the true purpose of the recording device is to check up on what is going on when you're not home, and be "snooping" or "spying" on your significant other when they are unaware that they are being watched, then yes it is controlling. especially if they don't know about the recording device, which it seems your girlfriend didn't.
in fact, i believe in many states it is illegal to videotape or record someone without their explicit permission..
if you feel like you need to hear and see everything that is going on when you're not home, then you should ask yourself whether or not you truly trust your spouse...? do you spend a lot of time worrying about cheating..? is it because this person is unfaithful, or do you worry about it a lot in all your previous relationships?
i think any sort of recording device is a little weird, especially if it recording the inside of the house rather than the outside, where you'd most likely see an intruder. if you have recording devices because you have young children and want to keep an eye on their babysitters, that's one thing.. but this is a little controlling, yes. although i dunno if "controlling" is the right word, i might say obsessive or overbearing.
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Old 5th July 2013, 5:11 PM   #3
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yes, spying on your partner is controlling.

If she cheated, break up with her. If you have trust issues that may or may not be warranted but you still want to be with her, get couples counseling.
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Old 5th July 2013, 5:14 PM   #4
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You're checking the recording device without having any reason to think your home has been unlawfully broken into. You're checking it to check up on your SO.

Yes, that's controlling, scary controlling, GPS-on-her-car controlling.
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Old 5th July 2013, 5:15 PM   #5
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It's not controlling, as long as your spouse knows about it and agrees with it. Does she?
~Perfection is about accepting that we cannot control everything and letting go of some of our preconceived notions.~ -Spiritofnow-
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Old 5th July 2013, 5:50 PM   #6
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It's not controlling if you don't tell her and don't have her consent- as long as you are the FBI, you suspect your girlfriend of running a crime ring out of your house, you have sufficient evidence to get a warrant signed by a judge to place the spy equipment in the house and monitor it, and are prepared to testify against her in federal court.
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Old 5th July 2013, 8:52 PM   #7
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Yes, it is controlling in the manner that you used it (other thread).

Not only that but you recorded from her purse too!

And on top of that you were the one to INVITED the shady cousin to come live there - further putting your GF at risk - on purpose!

You two have an odd way of describing love.

I would have been gone when I discovered how you operate.

You have serious trust issues - and will ruin every possible R moving forward if you don't change.
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Old 5th July 2013, 11:08 PM   #8
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Of course you probably already know my response.

Yes, it is controlling, sick, and twisted. God help anyone who is ever foolish enough to get mixed up in a long term relationship with you.

IC regarding your ingrained trust issues might be a better investment for you than surveillance equipment.
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Old 6th July 2013, 12:04 AM   #9
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If I visited a "friend" and found out that my bathroom privacy had been sound you have done to people...I would be calling my attorney to find out what the laws are on that.

It's crazily intrusive.
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Old 6th July 2013, 10:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Elswyth View Post
It's not controlling, as long as your spouse knows about it and agrees with it. Does she?
I am his significant other. I found out about the recording device on June 7...almost 4 months after I moved into his house.
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Old 6th July 2013, 10:28 PM   #11
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Since the recording is for security purposes, why not a camera giving you a visual record ending of who has entered your home? The recording you're referring to is audio right? How does that keep you safe? How could that be used to identify criminals?
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Old 6th July 2013, 10:50 PM   #12
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I hope you don't listen in while your mom, sister or some little kid is using the bathroom.
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Old 7th July 2013, 2:50 AM   #13
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Have you always had this recorder set up - or just in the past few months?
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Old 7th July 2013, 4:25 AM   #14
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Even though I think you've asked your question in a very narrow, semantic way (focusing on the word "controlling," instead of a more general discussion of the actual issue itself), you're still getting essentially unanimous answers!

Along with the others in this thread, I think it's __(blank)__ to have a recording system operating in your house while your family or guests would be there, without disclosing to them that such a system is in place.

Fill in the blank with whatever adjective you want: creepy, controlling, paranoid, obsessive, etc. One could even suggest "illegal" - more on that later. The particular word you select to describe this is not the critical point. The point is, simply, it's NOT ok.

One issue raised already, which I find interesting... You were asked this on the other thread, and it's been brought up here as well, but you are notably silent on the issue. It seems that this would be the thread for it: what compelling "security" purpose do you believe an inside, audio-only recorder provides? As this situation illustrates so effectively, having audio-only ends up providing you with a highly ambiguous set of clues. In a true security situation, say a burglary of your empty house, what good would it do to be able to analyze the creaking of the floorboards as the intruder walks down your hallway? In the cost/benefit analysis, where's the benefit?

I don't know if it was your purpose, but we now see that one of the main results of the ambiguity of the audio-only recording device was certainly to stir up a lot of drama.

And then I also brought up the legal aspects in your other thread, but I'll point them out here again, and this time in more detail. In the US, laws vary state by state, but for recording and eavesdropping, most states require the consent of at least one party to a conversation - some states require the consent of all parties to a conversation.

Statues on eavesdropping can even apply within families. In Michigan for example, the Court ruled in favor of a mother whose daughter who wore a wire, provided by a TV show, to record a conversation between the two of them. The court found against the TV show, because even though one party (the daughter) consented to the recording, since the TV show that actually did the recording was a third party to the conversation, that fell outside the state's statutes. See Dickerson v. Raphael, 564 N.W.2d 85 (Mich. Ct. App. 1997)

So I'm absolutely not a lawyer, but depending on your state and all the various details, it's quite possible that, technically, you may have racked up at least some of the following violations:
  • Eavesdropping/recording conversation or activities of one or more people without their consent (even leaving "M" out of it, this would include your girlfriend and her child(ren) );
  • Your subsequent disclosure of the contents of such recordings (publishing those recordings here on LS, in your other thread);
  • Your placing the recording device into your GF's purse with the intent that she would carry it in to her work and record conversations there;
  • Ironically, if you have erased that recording, you might even be on the hook for destroying evidence of a crime you knew had been committed.
So you'd better hope your GF isn't a vindictive sort, because she certainly has evidence of these potential violations, and could really have you over a barrel. Mmmmm - how that for a dramatic twist?
All that is now, All that is gone, All that's to come,
and everything under the sun is in tune...

Last edited by Trimmer; 7th July 2013 at 4:35 AM..
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