A man may spend five-years in prison under US anti-hacking laws for reading his wife’s emails without permission
A court case in America could have significant legal repercussions for co-habiting couples or married people who are sharing a computer with one another.
33-year old Leon Walker from Rochester Hills, Michigan, was charged under US anti-hacking laws, after he hacked into the Gmail account of his wife Clara, who he suspected was having an affair with a former husband. According to the Daily Telegraph, Clara has been married twice before, and the emails that Leon discovered confirmed his suspicions of his wife’s infidelity.
What makes this case interesting from a legal point of view is the fact that Leon and his wife Clara shared a laptop that acted as the family computer. This could have potential privacy and other legal ramifications, especially if passwords or cookies are already saved on the computer, which would allow other people to easily assess personal email accounts or other sensitive data.
But it seems that the exact circumstances of this particular case, reads like something out of a soap opera. According to the Telegraph once Leon discovered the incriminating emails that Clara was having an affair with her second husband, who had been previously been arrested for beating her in front of her son, Leon handed the emails over to the first husband, who was the boy’s father.
The father (Clara’s first husband) then sought for sole custody of the boy and was forced into revealing Walker had leaked him the emails.
The final twist of the tale came when the Clara realised that her emails had been accessed and revealed. She apparently then went to the authorities and pressed charges.
Needless to say, Clara and Leon subsequently divorced earlier this month, after Leon Walker was charged under Michigan’s state anti hacking laws.
According to the Telegraph, prosecutor Jessica Cooper dismissed Walker’s claims that he had used his wife’s password to log on to the computer. She apparently said Leon Walker was nothing but a “hacker” who used his skills as a computer technician to gain access to his wife’s email account.
“It was password protected, he had wonderful skills and was highly trained. Then he downloaded them and used them in a very contentious way,” she was quoted as saying.
Leon Walker’s suspicions had been aroused after his wife had failed to return home one night. For his part, he stated that his wife had often left the password to her email account lying around the house they shared.
Walker denied that he had hacked into her Gmail account but he is due to go on trial in February. He faces a maximum of five years in jail if convicted.
Although this case centred around the accessing of emails, websites such as Facebook have also been at the centre of other controverses such as escaped criminals using it to taunt the police for example. And increasingly evidence from sources such as social networking websites, SMS messages, and emails are being used nowadays in divorce cases.