Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Is Email Snooping a Crime? - Law Blog - WSJ

Is Email Snooping a Crime? - Law Blog - WSJJust covered this piece for ABC Nightly News with Diane Sawyer airing tonight. I understand that these "hacking and intrusion laws" are rarely used in marital cases, but spyware misuse is commonly charged as a wiretap offense. There appears to be two concerns: Will you be arrested for checking emails on your spouse's account? and Can a spouse hide befind the "marital computer" and "shaed accounts" exemptions used in the wiretapping laws?

This particular law (a state law in Michigan prohibiting unauthorized or use exceeding authorization)is not a wiretapping law. Therefore, the exemptions about who owns the computer in question is irrelevant. The issue here is the same whether the man being charged used his computer to access his wife's gmail account, a library computer or his wife's cell phone. He accessed her email account using a password. He was not authorized by her to do that. It wasn't a good faith use of her account. He did it for the reason the law was written to curtail, to prevent spying, hacking and unauthorized access.

Bottomline - don't use someone's account without permission. Don't spy. Don't cheat. And if you need to use electronic surveillance to see what your spouse is doing, the marriage is over.

my 2 cents

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