It’s not unusual to hear that a friend or acquaintance learned something hurtful or surprising about their spouse after snooping in their email. Some may think it wrong or a violation of privacy, but have you ever considered that it may actually be a crime? One man, Leon Walker of Michigan, found this out the hard way after logging into his then wife’s, Clara Walker’s, Gmail account.
A recent report from ABC News discusses the events that have taken place since Leon Walker accessed his wife’s personal emails. According to Walker, he suspected that his wife was having an affair and wanted to verify it by checking her email. He says that he was able to obtain her password by looking in a book that she kept near the computer. He has also stated that he saw nothing wrong with the actions he took to find out if his wife was indeed cheating.
Walker was later charged with felony misuse of a computer and if he is convicted could spend up to 5 years in prison. Though Walker, a computer technician, insists he simply checked her email by using her password, prosecutors have argued that he “illegally hacked” into her computer after she had filed for divorce. Whatever the case, federal privacy laws are clear in stating that password protected email accounts are private, even when using a shared computer. The only way around this is if one of the parties gives the other permission and allows access.
Walker’s trial is set to begin next month and could set a precedence, changing the way we view privacy between married couples. Privacy lawyer, Perry Aftab, talks about how reading a letter addressed to your spouse or checking emails without permission can lead you into some pretty hot water. Aftab says, “If you give them permission, you can do anything you want. But if you don’t, it might be a crime.”
What do you think of the privacy laws that call checking a spouse’s email a crime?
Do you think Leon Walker should be convicted for snooping on his wife?
I understand about privacy issues and if a random person hacks into your email etc, it should be a punishable crime.I believe the line blurs between a 5 year punishable offense versus an invasion of privacy in this situation.
If it happens between spouses, though.While it may be wrong, so is cheating while your married.Spend my taxpayer money on real crimes,put the robbers,killers,abusers and child molesters etc in jail- not the guy who got his wife's password from a book in his house and logged into her email.
Ok, if I'm reading this right, he checked her email AFTER she filed for divorce? If so, then yes, I believe it's a crime. If he checked it BEFORE she filed for divorce, well, that's a gray area. I think the decision to check each other's email is a personal and private decision between husband and wife. If it's ok with both parties, then fine. If it's not, then I think there are more serious trust issues that the couple needs to deal with. I think the privacy laws should stand if one of the partners feels that they don't want their email read. They should be entitled to privacy. If Leon Walker snooped on his wife before the divorce filing, then I think less drastic measures should be taken. If after, then I believe he needs a harsher punishment.
I think a 5 year prison term for checking a spouse's email is rediculous! I read that he checked it after she filed for a divorce, so they were NOT YET divorced, right? If he had obtained her password and used info he found in her emails to commit a crime (murder, robbery, etc.) then YES he should receive harsh punishment. But, simply snooping around to get evidence of a cheating spouse should not call for a 5 year prison term. As one blogger noted earlier, there were trust issues. And if cheating (breaking vows) doesn't count as a punishable crime, neither should being a nosey spouse.
I think there are more serious crimes out there. Also, if you are married, you shouldn't be ashamed or secritive of anything that your spouse would see, right? If you are, than it isn't a good marriage.
I think this is ludicrous! Although he should leave privacy where privacy belongs, I don't believe that tax payers money should be used to incarcerate him for 5 years. This is serious but not that serious....give the man a break for God's sake and stop using my tax dollars on these small, minute legal cases.