Skip to main content

Is spying or recording conversations on somebody illegal?

New York, NY |

My friend's neighbor is somehow retrieving messages from my friend's cell phone. Is it legal? How do we legally stop it?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


Go to the police.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 17 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


What proof do you have he is doing this? It may not be legal (many jurisdictions have not kept up with technology though) but a court will not entertain conjecture, hearsay, "hunches" or speculation. You need admissible evidence. If you have this evidence, you can also call the non-emergency number of your police department and see if they want to get involved (only the government can prosecute crimes). Cops usually do not like being involved in personal disputes such as this though, but you can see. You can also talk to your cell phone company and see if they can be of any assistance. You can also have a local lawyer send a cease and desist letter--that might get his attention. However, most lawyers want to know there is some basis for the letter--so you're back to your evidentiary issue again.

We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I have made do not constitute legal advice. Any statements I have made are based upon the very limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in California.



Thank you for your thorough answer. One of the many messaging apps out there is installed on the neighbors computer since we all received a messages that "xxxxxxx has joined on PC". The question is how do you prove to court it is installed on his computer and if he finds out that the neighbor is obtaining a search warrant then he may simply remove the program in a matter of seconds.

Golnar Sargeant

Golnar Sargeant


Only the government can issue warrants and prosecute crimes. Per my response, you can all the non-emergency number of your local police station, but as I stated, more often than not, they don't want to get involved, and you can not force them.


I agree, I would go to the police. It might be illegal in your state.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer