How Must Private Investigators Treat My Information?

When it comes to hiring a private investigator, or even being investigated by one, many people in the general public are not quite sure what the legal limits of the profession are. Specifically speaking, there is not a widespread familiarity among the public as to exactly how private investigators must navigate concerns of privacy. Here we will take a look at a quick Q & A to shed further light on the subject.

Can private investigators lie in order to get ahold of my personal information?

Private investigators cannot falsify official records, lie to government officials, fraudulently produce or sign documents, or commit any act of fraud in order to get ahold of your personal information. However, in most jurisdictions they can legally create false identities online using websites like Facebook, and convince you to volunteer personal information that way. Also, private investigators can make use of public records to find out about your background, including arrest records, birth and death records, marriage and divorce records, and real estate records.

What are private investigators legally able to do with my information?

With information obtained from your public records there are probably not many restrictions as to what a private investigator can do. This is because public information is available to everyone, and hence usually is not subject to privacy laws. Personal information which is uncovered during the course of an investigation may be protected by privacy laws, depending on the information and the jurisdiction. However, private investigators are limited in that should a slander or libel you, they may be subject to civil penalties for having done so.

Can private investigators photograph and film me in public?

Yes. Generally speaking the law says that once you leave your home you have essentially entered into the public domain. Anyone may photograph or film you in public. This principle is one of the main reasons why the paparazzi, who take photos of celebrities for a living, are legally able to engage in such a business.