The legality of keyloggers for spouses

Updated July 19, 2017

Installing a keylogger on your wife's computer might seem like an efficient way to record her conversations and track the websites she visits. People who consider using electronic spying methods should be warned. Some laws are designed to protect people from being eavesdropped on.


A keylogger is a type of program which records the keys that are struck on a computer's keyboard. Hackers utilise covert keyloggers in order to find out a computer user's valuable information, such as credit card numbers and Social Security numbers. Others may use a keyloggers in order to have a record of everything they type into their computers.


Keyloggers in themselves are legal to download or install onto a computer. However, they may violate certain federal laws if used to spy on others.

Use on Spouses

The federal government has enacted laws that make it illegal to covertly intercept electronic information. The United States Code (U.S.C.), title 18, states that interception of wire and electronic communications is illegal. This means that using a keylogger in order to spy on one's spouse is a violation of federal law, because it involves intercepting electronic communication. Furthermore, state regulations may carry additional penalties for those who use keyloggers on unsuspecting people.

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About the Author

Nasim Bey has been writing for publication since 2007. He has written on multiple subjects and specializes in topics in financial planning, legal issues and senior issues. His work has appeared in Investor Guide, Financial Web and Senior Ark. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese studies at the University of California at Irvine.