3 of the Top Ethical Issues in Private Investigation
Each and every day, private investigators are responsible for navigating their tactics and decisions based on ethics and criminal law. More than ever, modern technology and evolving legality have made it challenging for private detectives to know exactly where the ethical and legal line are in each unique situation. Below are some of the biggest ethical issues that private eyes face today.
Grasping an Understanding of Criminal Law
On a very basic level, if a decision is illegal, it is also unethical. Private detectives must know the law and how it differs in various geographical areas so that they can make split second decisions in a legal and ethical manner. It is important for PIs to understand not only the law, but also the variations in legality based on the state, province and country they are investigating in.
What is legal in one state or province may not be in another. For example, wiretapping laws vary between states in the US. In Illinois, consent from both parties must be obtained in order for a wiretap to be considered legal, whereas in Texas, only one person’s consent is required. However, in Canada, the law only requires one party consent with respect to admissibility of recorded conversations which makes a significant difference in advising and training clients and our professionals. Because of variations like these, private detectives must be intimately familiar with the laws in their jurisdiction. Failure to abide by these laws could result in a suspension of their license and criminal charges.
Violation of Privacy Rights
There are many different ways to violate the privacy rights of an individual, and modern technology is making that easier than ever. A violation of privacy occurs when an individual’s solitude or seclusion was violated in ill faith or in a way that would offend a reasonable person. Examples of a violation of privacy rights could including intercepting mail/email, hacking into computer, or obtaining facts and information under false pretences. When seeking a credit report, for example, private eyes must not lie about their intentions or misrepresent themselves. If they do, they can be criminally charged with a federal offence.
Information obtained illegally is not admissible in court, so it is in the private detectives’ interest to gather facts ethically and legally at all times. The best way to avoid violating privacy rights is to be honest and conduct investigations from public viewpoints.
Lack of Training in Ethnical Decision Making
Private detectives have to make quick decisions, and sometimes they won’t have time to consider all their options and the consequences that result. That is why it is crucial for private detectives to receive lengthy ethical and legal training. Although the majority of states in the US require continuing education on ethical practices, private investigators are responsible for their conduct and should remain as knowledgeable as possible to the latest ethical and legal constraints of their investigations. Also, today’s private detectives need to be up to speed in the latest electronic investigative tools so that they can conduct themselves ethically and effectively.
Our Commitment to Ethical and Legal Investigation
Our private detectives and all associates are committed to conducting ourselves in a legal and ethical manner in every situation. We abide by all Provincial and Federal laws, and take privacy rights and ethics very seriously. Regardless of your needs, we have the skills AND training necessary in deciding and making tactical decisions moving forward.