Subscribe with Bloglines The Privacy Lawyer: Ex-Spouse charged with cyberspying on ex-husband and his girlfriend

Monday, July 12, 2004

Ex-Spouse charged with cyberspying on ex-husband and his girlfriend

a woman in Florida was charged with violating the ECPA (Federal wiretap statute) for installing a remote cyber-monitoring product on her ex-husband's laptop and his girlfriend's laptop computer to create problems between them.

Many Internet users involved in a divorce proceeding, custody dispute or worried that their significant others are involved in an affair are turning to self-help. Monitoring software designed to monitor employees' surfing and online communications or to monitor children's online activities is being misused to spy on others.

Any interception of an online communication or phone conversation violates the wiretapping laws. While there may be a slight difference between the kids of communications and whether the interception is an actual wiretap or an illegal accessing of stored communications (different sections of the law and different penalties) both are illegal. Certain types of communications are excempted from the federal wiretapping and most state wiretapping laws. These typically involve employers and law enforcement (providing a court-order or other applicable legal process is fulfilled).

Some courts have said that a special unwritten exemption also exists for spouses. But most courts have rejected that position.

Want to know if you can legally access e-mail communications of someone else, check with a lawyer knowledgeable about privacy laws. As tempting as it may be to know what they are saying and to whom they are saying it, be very careful!


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