At PDL, potential clients ask us very frequently – probably around twice per day – if we
will ‘hack’ a phone, meaning to illicitly and remotely gain access to a device and its data.
With phone hacking scandals in journalism and government in relatively recent memory,
the concept is certainly within the zeitgeist and public consciousness.
However, many people have questions around the legality of phone hacking: Is it legal?
Is it only illegal under certain circumstances? Are there alternatives?
As such, we wanted to address these questions and more in a clear and simple manner,
via this blog. Please read the below – we hope it’s helpful.
If you have any questions about anything within this article, or relating to our services or
company as a whole, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Why Do People Request Phone Hacking?
Ultimately, when an individual or organisation approaches us looking to instruct a private detective, they do do so because they want answers.
With phone hacking requests, corporations do occasionally enquire, but the vast majority of the time it’s an individual wishing to conduct a matrimonial investigation – and feeling the answers they want lie on a phone.
Is Phone Hacking Legal?
No, phone hacking is not legal. It is illegal. A phone is essentially an asset that a person or company has acquired ownership of. If you don’t have access to it, then there lies the simple answer.
The government can’t access your phone, and nor can the police – without sufficient reason and thus the granting of the right to do so.
The phone’s owner has the right to the ownership and privacy of their own device and data. Of course, there’s a big conversation currently going on about the sharing and purchasing of data, and the various tactics companies employ to seek individuals’ agreement to share their data.
However this is a separate issue that doesn’t change the simple fact that phone hacking is illegal. Even the word ‘hack’ points towards underhand or illicit intentions.
Completing phone forensics of a phone that our client should and does have access to is another matter. However the questions are always: Do you – and should you – have access?
The Ethics of Phone Hacking
At PDL, an exemplary ethical code has always been at the core of our ethos. We’re proud of our high standards and uncompromisingly ethical approach to leading the way in the UK. We often say of phone hacking: Even if we could do it, we wouldn’t.
Phone Hacking Alternatives
Just because phone hacking is not a route we can or will take, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t available ways to get results.
We can almost always achieve the answers our clients seek – and via legal, ethically-sound methods, without exception.
We are very happy to discuss alternative approaches with any potential client, any time.
To reiterate, we – just one company – receive in the region of 800 phone hacking requests per year, every year. So please don’t be embarrassed about having tried to seek a phone hacking service before knowing it was illegal.
The need for answers can feel overwhelming, and it can be difficult to find clear advice on phone hacking’s legality – one of the reasons for this article.
If you don’t choose to explore alternative methods with us, or another reputable company, then our primary advice is to be careful.
There are companies purporting to offer phone hacking services. They may be being dishonest about their methods, i.e. Taking payment for one service then doing another.
Alternatively they may take an initial fee to secure your instruction, not actually complete any investigation, then return to you to state the operation was simply unsuccessful – but the payment is still required for their time.
Or they may be actually undertaking illegal hacking practices, which is of course absolutely not something to be involved with.
Steer clear of any detective or company who states that they can and will hack a phone, and allow a trusted, expert detective to advise on methods.
Feel free to contact us via the details below for free, honest, legally-sound, ethical advice – at no obligation.