A lot of attention is focused these days in family courts around the country on text messages, voice mails, emails, and various social media that spouses use against each other in divorce and custody matters. In fact, protecting yourself from intrusion upon your Internet security has been a frequent topic on this blog. When domestic abuse figures into the picture, the need to be secure in your on-line activities is even more important.
A TODAY Show segment discusses prosecution of a man who says that he used the passwords that his wife shared with him or left open for his discovery and use. She says he's a computer IT person. The unanswered question? Did he access the email because they shared a common family computer setting (like an unlocked file cabinet) or did he use software or hardware to access her email? Here's the Today Show report (Click on the image):
The Court of Appeals Decision contains a detailed analysis of the conduct that the panel held to be a violation of criminal statutes forbidding unauthorized access to email accounts that are password protected. Download People v Walker COA
UPDATE: Here is a link to an update on this case and the Michigan Supreme Court decision stating that yes, Leon Walker would go to trial for hacking and reading his spouse's email without her permission. Download People v Walker S Ct
End result? On July 14, 2012, the Freep announced the charges were dropped. "Free Press Staff Writer Prosecutors dropped felony charges Friday against a Rochester Hills man accused of snooping in his wife's e-mail after they learned that she had been snooping as well -- surreptitiously reading text messages on her husband's phone."
See also White v White, one of the definitive cases on whether a family computer is fair game. This is a New Jersey case, often cited elsewhere. There is no expectation of privacy in a family computer unless email account passwords are protected and not divulged. It's like a "file cabinet" and anyone may open a drawer and use the contents. Download White_v_White
Here are links to other articles on this Blog about Internet safety--especially for those divorced or divorcing.