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Jail Time For Email Snooping

Jail Time For Email Snooping: Fair or Unfair?

A man in Michigan is facing the possibility of jail time for logging into his wife's email while she was allegedly having an affair. He's facing charges of violating a state law typically targeted at malicious hackers. The husband says he had a right to access his wife's email because her password was "lying around the house," and he was the one who purchased the computer. He also claims he did so because he was worried his wife's lover was abusive toward her around the couple's young children.

Michigan authorities have charged him with, "unauthorized access to a computer in order to acquire, alter, damage, delete, or destroy property." The defendant's lawyer is expected to argue that because the computer is considered shared property, the law should not apply to domestic snooping, and therefore, not a case.

Without knowing all of the details, it seems a bit extreme for the prosecution to seek jail time for the husband's offenses. On the other hand, how would this case be handled if he had been caught opening mail she received via the US Postal Service? While the key takeaway from a case like this is clearly, "don't snoop," now that he has, is jail time a just sentence for the crime? Or is it unfair?

Source: Thinkstock
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