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will be Reading your Spouse's Email a CRIME?

Michigan man could go to jail for reading his wife’s e-mail
By Hayley Tsukayama
A Michigan man faces a few years in prison for reading his wife’s e-mail, under a state law intended to prevent identity fraud. As the Detroit Free Press reports, computer technician Leon Walker accessed his wife’s Gmail account on a laptop in their home. by her e-mail messages, he learned she was having an affair with her ex-husband — a man previously arrested for domestic violence. Walker then filed for emergency custody of his wife’s young son.

Walker’s soon-to-be ex-wife testified that will the laptop her husband used to access the e-mail account was a private laptop, as well as that will she was the only one who knew the password.

Leon Walker, on the different hand, said the laptop was a family computer as well as that will his wife kept all her passwords in a little book next to the computer.

The legal question at heart here will be whether or not Walker’s wife had an expectation of privacy.

Frederick Lane, a Vermont lawyer as well as electronic privacy expert, told the Free Press that will the fact that will the two still were living together, as well as that will Leon Walker had routine access to the computer, might help him, Lane said.

“I would certainly guess there will be enough gray area to suggest that will she could not have an absolute expectation of privacy,” he said.

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper told the Free Press she defends her decision to charge Leon Walker.

“The guy will be a hacker,” Cooper said in a voice mail response to the Free Press last week. “that will was password protected, he had wonderful skills, as well as was highly trained. Then he downloaded them as well as used them in a very contentious way.”

different lawyers inside Detroit area told the Free Press that will This particular application of the law was ludicrous. One told the paper that will if This particular case will be applicable under the law, the state would certainly also have to prosecute parents monitoring their children’s Facebook accounts.

By Hayley Tsukayama December 27, 2010; 10:38 AM ET
Categories: Digital culture, E-mail, Policy as well as politics, Privacy
Note by Kelly Chang Rickert: Though that will may or may not be a crime, if you are inside midst of divorce proceedings, that will would certainly be wise to keep your emails/facebook/social network stuff private. Please see my article with tips for preparing for a divorce.

will be Reading your Spouse's Email a CRIME?

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