Shooting fish in a barrel: How private investigators do surveillance in the age of smartphones

The days of private investigators performing marital surveillance jobs are pretty much over. Previously, marital surveillance jobs could be challenging, demanding and stressful. It was hard to get that photographic “money-shot.” Gathering evidence today is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Here’s why private investigators are hired for marital surveillance jobs today – and it’s a good reason.

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By and large, these divorces are usually a direct result of one or more of three things: infidelity, substance abuse, and/or money problems.

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Is marital surveillance obsolete? Not in big-bucks divorce. Actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the 81st Academy Awards. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Attribution: Chrisa Hickey

Is marital surveillance obsolete? Not in big-bucks divorce

Among the explosion of headlines about the Angelina Jolie / Brad Pitt divorce, some reports are claiming Jolie had hired a private investigator to uncover evidence that her husband was cheating on her with recent co-star Marion Cotillard. The French movie star issued a strong public denial of any affair and took the opportunity to announce that she was pregnant by her long-time partner to boot.

Given the state of personal electronics, one could easily argue that full-scale surveillance is simply not needed. Cell phone records, texts, email, calendars, appointments… cheaters carelessly give up the game easily.

There will always be a need for old-fashioned full-scale stakeouts. In a world where there is no shortage of high-stakes, big-bucks divorce, providing court-admissible proof of infidelity is a job that will never fully become obsolete.