Ramirez on Spousal Wiretaps in the Digital Age

Karli Ramirez has posted “To Catch a Snooping Spouse: Reevaluating the Roots of the Spousal Wiretap Exception in the Digital Age” (170 U. Pa. L. Rev. (Forthcoming)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Growing concerns over digital privacy can easily create tension in romantic relationships, including marriages. The Federal Wiretap Act is one example of a statutory vehicle for deterring and punishing spying in spousal relationships, but it is an unavailable tool in the Second and Fifth Circuits because of a judge-made spousal exception to the Act in those jurisdictions. Intercepting communications between one’s spouse and a third party is permissible under the spousal exception, making it difficult to hold spying spouses accountable for their actions. This work argues that because the spousal exception was created at the time of continued institutionalized subordination and limited privacy rights of women, two exceedingly outdated and sexist notions, the spousal exception has no basis in modern society and can no longer be seen as good law.