Changes planned for Ohio's eavesdropping laws

By Marc Kovac


Parents would be allowed to keep closer tabs on their children’s online activities, under changes to the state’s eaves- dropping laws being considered in the Ohio House.

“It is important that we have necessary laws in place so parents have the ability to protect their children from those who wish to do them harm,” sponsoring Rep. Brian Hill, a Republican from Zanesville, told members of the House Judiciary Committee.

“This bill will support parents who seek to protect their children by remaining vigilant over their child’s online activity,” Hill said.

House Bill 15 had its first legislative hearing Wednesday.

Hill offered comparable legislation last session that passed unanimously in the House but stalled in the Ohio Senate.

Current state law prohibits the “interception of a wire, oral or electronic communication,” according to an analysis by the state’s legislative services commission.

HB 15 would remove the prohibition for parents, grandparents or other guardians when efforts are being “made in good faith for the child’s protection.”

Hill offered the law change after an incident in his district involving an underage girl and an adult male in an inappropriate relationship.

The father of the girl installed an electronic monitoring device on the family computer and recorded evidence in pursuit of criminal charges.

But “charges were not filed” and “the father was advised that the use of the monitoring device was illegal and that the gathered evidence would be inadmissible in court,” Hill said.

He added, “As a father of three young children, it’s essential that we close this loophole in our law and help protect Ohio’s children.”

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