Husband faces felony charges for reading wife's email

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101227/ap_on_hi_te/us_reading_wife_s_e_mail

Wow. I agree that married couples should still retain privacy, but a felony for reading a spouse’s email? Seems a bit much to me.

I’m glad to see a precedent being established here. Provided he’s found guilty, of course. It will probably depend on how the password was obtained (did he log her keys? or was it written on a post-it note), and whether they had established a pattern of sharing passwords for other sites prior to this incident.

I like how his defense is a resounding cry “FOR THE CHILDREN!” The governing body of logical fallacies (snerk) should really come up with a Latin term for this fallacy, which is used by anti-pornographers and homophobes alike. May I suggest Reductio ad Puerorum?

Looking at a spouse’s emails on a shared computer? I don’t expect a conviction to stick.

From another article: His defense is that 1) it is a shared computer that he uses for work and 2) that she kept her passwords on a notepad next to the computer – there was no hacking involved. It will probably be a he-said / she-said regarding #2.

It seems like this case has the potential to broaden the scope of ‘computer hacking’ charges and that could have an impact on a lot of situations, including parents looking at their kids email and facebook accounts.

What if she had the email account open and forgot to close it. He sits down at the computer and there is her email page open to be read without so much as clicking a button. What’s he guilty of?

My wife writes the checks (on her checking account that does not have my name on it) for bills that come in my name only (gas/electric, cable, etc.). What jury is going to convict her for opening up my mail (the bills) so she can pay them. I never told her to. Not once. I’ve handed her the open bills with some cash and asked her to send a check off to them. But never once in almost 31 years have I asked her to open those bills even though she is the one who always sends the check.

If I roll over in bed at 3am and squeeze my wifes tit while she’s sleeping, what am I guilty of?

The OP’s case has the making for an implied consent ruling from SCOTUS.

Has there been any rulings that minors have an expectation of privacy in their parents’ homes, though?

I don’t know your jurisdiction, but probably sexual assault. Depending on how sleepy she is, and therefore how cranky she is to be bothered.:smiley:

My error. I should have asked “what would I be convicted of”. My previous question has 50 answers in the U.S. alone.

The new answer is, nothing. It just isn’t going to happen even if there are laws about it.

The case in the OP is absurd. Had the couple been legally separated, had they been residing in different homes, had the computer been her sole property/work property that he didn’t have normal access to, then maybe, maybe there would be a weak case. But as it stands it’s ridiculous! Was the wifes affair with the local D.A. I wonder?

Yes. I’ll see if I can scratch you up a cite. But minors who establish exclusive control of an area in their parent’s home can create a reasonable expectation of privacy. (or rather, their parents let them establish the expectation).

My cite will have to wait… Posting on my phone right now and I’m having a hard time wading through legalese on this tiny screen.

How ridiculous. Sex and shared finances are two basic assumptions undertaken in the average marriage. Reading one’s spouse’s email is not. They are not equatable. No consent (implied or otherwise) to read a spouse’s email is extant in a typical marriage, someone would have to go out of their way to give permission for such an occurrence.

Your mail and your spouse’s mail are delivered to the same address, by the way. Email doesn’t work this way.

Somebody nailed you with one of your emails, didn’t they?:smiley:
Why is it ridiculous to say this (or something like it) is something either a state supreme or the U.S. supreme court will rule on? If this guy is convicted there will be an appeal and a higher court will rule on it. Where does the ridiculousness of my post kick in?

How is reading the password off of a notepad different from using the latest zero-day attack or some social engineering technique. Either you’re an authorized user of the system or you’re not.

Also an implied expectation of marriage is the elimination of privacy. I mean Sex alone trumps any claims about email.

I don’t think the charges relate to privacy at all. The man is charged with hacking. The fact that they were husband-and-wife doesn’t matter any more than if the relationship was parent-and-child. I suspect the charges are misplaced.

I’m not sure that the analogy of a wife opening a man’s mail apply here. A better analogy might be a wife opening a husband’s personal post office box and paying the bills inside. But I don’t want to speculate about the law and I am not a fan of analogies anyway.

FWIW, this is the other article I read. It doesn’t have much more information.

Right, I don’t know that it matters in this case. I am not familiar with this Michigan anti-hacking legislation and whether it covers any unauthorized access of any type of system or if there are conditions that must be met. I was just laying out the main points of his defense.

Is computer hacking simply unauthorized access? Or does it describe a set of technical procedures used to gain unauthorized access?

If it is the first definition, then guessing someone’s password and accessing their account is hacking. Does it apply to a parent looking at a kid’s email or Facebook account? Or an adult child accessing a deceased parent’s email account in order to contact friends?

So much for the ‘sanctity of marriage’.

It could depend upon those who sent emails to the wife account, they have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Imagine confidential material eing sent to her, or perhaps sensitive commercial communications, there might well be some serious implications.There might even be some sort of non-disclosure clause in a contract.

That would put quite a lot of responsibility on the wife to ensure security of her accountss too. As for the affair, well this seems to be some sort of pre-divorce posturing, a sort of nuclear option.

So the wife of pkbites is a criminal?

Dunno about the law itself, but it seems to me that the wife’s outrage over the invasion of privacy loses a lot of its moral high ground when you consider that she was, in fact, actually having an affair. It’s a little like a drug kingpin complaining the informer wore a wire.

I’m not saying the ends justify the means, but clearly she was using the “privacy wall” to conduct a moral crime that used to be a legal crime as well. “I was relying on him to follow the rules so that I could break them” is weak defense.