One of the big stories in tech news this week is one from Michigan, in which a woman is pressing charges against her (now) ex-spouse for snooping on her e-mail while they were married. Some of the e-mails have since been used in a complicated custody battle involving the woman's three ex-spouses and her children. If convicted, the man could face up to five years in prison.
I'm certainly in no position to be giving marital or parenting advice, so I won't try to do that. I do find it incredible when a man sitting in his own home, reading e-mail on a computer in that home could potentially serve several years in prison for doing that.
Mike Masnick has some good commentary at TechDirt:
...Not that any of this makes it okay to snoop on a spouse's email when they wish to keep it secret, but it seems like a huge stretch to claim that it's a crime worthy of five years in prison under a law designed for malicious computer hacking. The issue here had nothing to do with "computer hacking," at all. It's an abuse of the law by prosecutors.
I would just add, don't we have enough REAL cyber crime that needs to be solved and resolved before we tie up our law enforcement and criminal justice system with domestic disputes? Oh, and the best place for your e-mail password is probably not in a book right next to your computer in a shared domicile. Just sayin.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.