Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Woman Sues Ex Over Trove of Secret Tapes
By ABC News
An Ohio woman is suing her ex-husband after she said he spied on her with a hidden video camera, microphone and a GPS for months in their home.
Cathy Zang learned about the recordings during their 2009 divorce proceedings after 14 years of marriage, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Her ex-husband, Joe Zang, a homebuilder in Ohio, admitted to installing all the equipment, but denied doing anything wrong, according to court documents.
After learning of the secret recordings, Cathy Zang searched her home and found numerous recording devices.
"There it is! There it is! I found it. In the eye hole right here on the plug, I mean outlet," said her son, Zach Holbrook, on the recording.
"He [Joe Zang] put small microphones and small cameras in wall outlets and disguised them as actual wall outlets. It's a complete view of the computer area, the kitchen area, the living room area," said Cathy Zang's attorney, Don Roberts.
Joe Zang and his attorney did not return ABC News' calls.
One secret recording in particular captured a vicious fight between the couple, including the exact moment the police showed up during the dispute.
"You grabbed me and you shook me and you pushed me. Good God, what is wrong with you?" Zang could be heard asking her husband in the recordings.
While the Zangs' divorce is now final and out of court, the recordings are at the center of a federal court battle over the right to privacy amidst 21st century technology. Two lawsuits are now pending in U.S. District Court that involve nearly a dozen of the former couple's friends and family and a computer monitoring software company, as first reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
One suit was filed by Javier Luis, a Florida man whose online conversations with Cathy Zang were monitored, while the other was filed by Zang herself. Both lawsuits seek hundreds of thousands of dollars for wiretapping and invasion of privacy, the Enquirer reports.
"He was hacking into my personal computer account and getting into my e-mail. At some point he had a GPS on my car," Cathy Zang told ABC News.
"There are some embarrassing things that I wouldn't want other people to see because I was in the privacy of my own home," she said.
It's not clear what laws Joe Zang has broken since he installed the devices in his own home.
"What do you do when both people pay the bills? When both people's names are on the deed?
When both people share the same computer, purchased it together? It's very difficult for a prosecutor then to say, well you have committed a crime against this other person," said legal analyst Sunny Hostin, a former federal prosecutor.
Ohio and federal wiretapping laws permit audio recording as long as one of the parties in the conversation is aware of the recording.
HIDDEN AUDIO VISUAL RECORDINGS: California's wiretapping law is a "two-party consent" law. California makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication, including a private conversation or telephone call, without the consent of all parties to the conversation. See Cal. Penal Code § 632. The statute applies to "confidential communications" -- i.e., conversations in which one of the parties has an objectively reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or overhearing the conversation. See Flanagan v. Flanagan, 41 P.3d 575, 576-77, 578-82 (Cal. 2002). A California appellate court has ruled that this statute applies to the use of hidden video cameras to record conversations as well. See California v. Gibbons, 215 Cal. App. 3d 1204 (Cal Ct. App. 1989).
COMPUTER SPYWARE: A miss-concept between many P.I.s, attorneys and the general public is that when married, you can record your spouse, install spyware on community computers to view emails, IM, keystrokes, passwords, etc. Regardless if two people are married, the spouse does not automatically forfeit his/her right to privacy. If one spouse does not share their password to a private account with the other, they DO have an expectation of privacy. Ca Penal Code 502(c)(2) prohibits access to a computer, computer system, to take, copy, or use any data without permission.
CALIFORNIA GPS LAWS: 637.7. (a) No person or entity in this state shall use an electronic tracking device to determine the location or movement of a person.
(b) This section shall not apply when the registered owner, lessor, or lessee of a vehicle has consented to the use of the electronic tracking device with respect to that vehicle.
(d) As used in this section, "electronic tracking device" means any device attached to a vehicle or other movable thing that reveals its location or movement by the transmission of electronic signals.
(e) A violation of this section is a misdemeanor.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
In California, the 1973 case of NOBLE v. SEARS ROEBUCK, held the attorney partially liable the torts committed by a P.I.
Divorce Lawyer Is Sued Along with Client Who Secretly Monitored Wife on VideoABA Journal
Posted Sep 12, 2012 7:10 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A well-known Cincinnati lawyer is among the defendants in two federal privacy lawsuits filed by a woman and her online friend claiming the attorney intended to use secret surveillance in divorce proceedings.
Plaintiff Catherine Zang alleges her then-husband, Cincinnati home builder Joseph Zang, spied on her with a hidden video camera and microphone, as well as computer-tracking software, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Catherine Zang and the friend, Javier Luis, seek hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages for wiretapping and invasion of privacy.
Catherine Zang says she discovered the devices in 2009 after her husband’s divorce lawyer, Mary Jill Donovan, revealed she had evidence portraying Catherine Zang in “unflattering, embarrassing and private settings,” the suit says. The complaint claims Donovan intended to use the evidence to obtain a favorable settlement for Joseph Zang.
Joseph Zang has admitted installing the monitoring devices, but has said he did nothing wrong, the story says. Donovan did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment and Joseph Zang declined to comment.
At issue in the suit is the reach of federal and Ohio federal wiretapping laws, the story says. The laws permit audio recordings as long as one of the parties is aware of the recording. Catherine Zang argues near constant surveillance was not permitted under the laws, however, because her husband wasn’t always at home during the taping.
Surveillance between spouses is becoming more common, according to Ken Altshuler, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. “There’s absolutely been an increase in this,” he told the Enquirer. “They have very sophisticated technology now.”
Judges fear social media jeopardizing fair trialsThe Columbus Dispatch
By Kathy Lynn Gray and John Futty
Monday September 10, 2012 7:49 AM
Report from jury duty: defendant looks like a murderer. GUILTY. Waiting for opening remarks.
That tweet from comedian Steve Martin, followed by a string of other “jury duty” tweets, was met with laughter by some and alarm by others. Was he really tweeting from the jury box?
He wasn’t; he was just joking. But judges aren’t amused in the least if real jurors take to Twitter. Or to Facebook, Google or other social media or search engines.
A Franklin County jury was deliberating a murder case last week when a juror announced that she had looked up the definition of a legal term on her tablet computer. Before she could read it aloud, other jurors told her she had violated the judge’s order not to do outside research. Less than two hours later, Common Pleas Judge Tim Horton had removed the woman from the jury.
It was the second time in 15 months that a Franklin County judge had dismissed a juror for using an electronic device to research a case.
“We’re all very concerned. These are just the times it gets reported. What about the ones who are doing it and not telling anyone?” said Charles Schneider, the administrative judge for Common Pleas Court.
Judges in federal, state and municipal courts always have warned jurors not to investigate a case on their own. But the instant access that cellphones and personal computers provide to the Internet makes it easier than ever for jurors to violate those instructions and imperil a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.
In a national survey last year, 6 percent of federal district judges said one or more jurors in their cases had used social media to communicate during a trial or deliberations.
To combat that, nearly 30 percent of judges confiscated phones and other electronic devices during jury deliberations, and 22 percent did so at the start of each day of trial, the survey found. The majority only warned jurors verbally not to use social media.
“Repeat, repeat, repeat” is the mantra.
Instructions written by committees of the Ohio State Bar Association and the Ohio Judicial Conference in 2010 suggest that judges warn jurors before a trial starts, at the end of each day of the trial, at the end of the trial and whenever else they find it necessary.
U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus Jr. does that and specifically mentions Twitter and Facebook.
“A lot of people would just think, ‘I Facebook about everything else I’m doing, I’ll Facebook about this trial, too,’ ” Sargus said. But his experience has been that once jurors are told to avoid social media and he explains why, they do.
“Jurors here take the job very seriously,” he said. Stephanie Rawlings, the senior law clerk for District Judge George C. Smith, said the prevalence of cellphones has complicated efforts to reduce jurors’ exposure to information about a trial.
“We haven’t heard of any problems that have arisen,” she said. “But whether people follow the judge’s orders, who knows?”
In some states, such as California, jurors can be jailed on contempt charges if they post information about a trial on social media.
Last September, Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Daniel T. Hogan fined a juror $900 for using his cellphone to find a defendant’s criminal record and share it with another juror.
“There needs to be an example made, as publically as possible, that this behavior won’t be tolerated,” Hogan said.
But a study in the March edition of the University of Illinois Law Review found that it is “uncommon for jurors to face any consequences beyond dismissal” for Internet misconduct. It advocated penalizing violators.
In last week’s case, Judge Horton didn’t penalize the juror beyond dismissing her. The woman had indicated during questioning by the judge and attorneys that she was under a psychiatrist’s care and “seemed to have some personal issues,” Horton said. “In certain cases, strong penalties might be warranted. This wasn’t one to treat as malicious or like she was trying to screw up the process.”
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Cybercrime costs U.S. consumers $20.7 billion
An annual cybercrime report has said that over the past 12 months, cybercrime has cost U.S. consumers billions of dollars.
U.S. consumers lost $20.7 billion to cybercrime over the past 12 months, with 71 million Americans falling victim to online perps, according to new research.
Meanwhile, worldwide losses resulting from cybercrime including malware attacks and phishing hit $110 billion between July 2011 and the end of July 2012, a report by security company Symantec (PDF) has found.
On average, each victim experienced $197 in direct financial loss. In the United States, the average loss was $290.
According to the report, an estimated 556 million adults across the world had first-hand experience of cybercrime over the period -- more than the entire population of the European Union. The figure equates to nearly half of all adults online (46 percent), and is up from 45 percent a year ago.
There has been an increase in cybercrime that takes advantage of social networks and mobile technology, according to the report, with 21 percent of online adults reporting having fallen prey to social or mobile crime. The study also found that 15 percent of Web users have had their social-networking account infiltrated, and 1 in 10 have been victims of fake links or scams through a social network.
Seventy-five percent of those who participated in the study believed that cybercriminals are gearing more towards social networks.
Over 13,000 participants across 24 countries were interviewed for the report.