Snooping On Your Spouse

   By drodriguez  Jan 03, 2011

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?

Make a Comment

kimvoloshin by kimvoloshin | PALMER TWP, PA
Apr 22, 2011

No wrong, wrong, wrong, I can't say it enough. If you feel the need to snoop on your partner you are already on the way out. Talk about your feelings and if it does not feel well leave with dignity. If my husband would do this, and believe me I do not cheat, I would have a big problem trusting him again. I find it sneaky and low.

ladysun by ladysun | Fort Worth, TX
Mar 22, 2011

When two people are in a committed relationship there should not be secrets. I've been married 30 yrs he has my passwords I have his do I use them sometimes....sometimes he tells me to check his accounts. The bottom line is this, if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to be so immature about. Trust is important if he was to start acting funny all of a sudden about me touching his things or going into his account that would raise a red flag!!

BlessedMom23 by BlessedMom23 | Strongsville, OH
Feb 25, 2011

Wow! Where is the line? Is it also illegal to check my husbands snail mail? My employer checks my email. Call the police! If they claim it's b/c they have a contract from when they hired me-well what about a married couples vows? She should go to jail for breaking her vows.

worthwhile by worthwhile | FRANKFORT, NY
Feb 05, 2011

Something had to have happened to cause him to be distrustful. I also always wonder why people are stupid enough to leave info. laying around that can get them in trouble. Must have sub-consciously wanted him to find out.

Orchid25 by Orchid25 | RINGGOLD, GA
Feb 02, 2011

to see if *she was cheating, not he. lol

Orchid25 by Orchid25 | RINGGOLD, GA
Feb 02, 2011

I think he had a right to check her email to see if he was cheating. They were married so I don't see anything wrong with it. My husband is free to check whatever he wants, I have nothing to hide. That is a ridiculous law, put real criminals in prison not a husband that checks his wifes email.

sharman421 by sharman421 | TALLAHASSEE, FL
Jan 30, 2011

So, did he find out if she cheated? I agree with deenice22, it's a stupid law and needs to be rewritten for real criminals. Maybe he deserves a ticket, a misdemeanor, a small fine. IF SHE DID INDEED CHEAT, SHE DESERVES IT TOO!

deenice22 by deenice22 | Horsham, PA
Jan 29, 2011

5 years and a felony record?... come on people, where has common sense gone. OK, he was wrong so teach him a lesson... community service working with a non profit organization for a reasonable amount of time and a misdemeanor. Why is it that the time does not always fit the crime. Destroy a life over this, corporate thieves, identity thefts, murderers, and even rapists have gotten less or even nothing for their crimes.... spend this time and energy putting away true menaces to society not upstanding citizens who may have exercised bad judgement but without intent to defraud anyone or cause mental and physical harm.

jillyb1173 by jillyb1173 | Milan, MI
Jan 27, 2011

That's just too much. What's next??

MsKimS by MsKimS | Chillicothe, IL
Jan 22, 2011

I believe that when it comes to a relationship between a spouse and or your minor children there must be exceptions! If the courts can hold you accountable for the actions of your family.....there has to be some protection for the innocent over the deceitful! A marriage constitutes "1" and if couples can't agree there should not be a marriage.....and too many individuals today do not take marriage as a life-long commitment. It appears that when one is unhappy they make themselves happy and walk away from their commitments. The courts have made it too easy for divorce to happen.

jennyjen1234 by jennyjen1234 | Verbena, AL
Jan 18, 2011

A bit much in my opinion - 5 years??

kcrowe2 by kcrowe2 | Jackson, TN
Jan 13, 2011

I think that when it comes to a spouse, there should be a acception with the privacy law.

BlondieKAA by BlondieKAA | CRIVITZ, WI
Jan 11, 2011

I guess I come at it from the mindset that when you're married you're one....and they were still married in the eyes of the law. I think that a felony charge is a bit harsh. I agree with the other comments--there are other crimes/real crimes that money and time should be spent on. Not something like this.

mari95flores by mari95flores | Cicero, IL
Jan 09, 2011

There is always two sides to a story but both did wrong. Both should accept blame & move on. Just one taking the wrap is pretty lame I gotta say!!! But unfortunetely this is what our world has come to.

jenndta69 by jenndta69 | SHERMAN OAKS, CA
Jan 08, 2011

There sounds like there is more to this story. Besides, she already had filed for divorce. Why is everyone so quick to blame the woman?! Did you ever think that maybe he was a possessive jerk? And that's why she filed for divorce in the first place.