Spyware and Divorce
(The following is a blog entry I contributed to LinkedIn as one of their “Influencers”):
Gosh the laws are in a state of flux on this topic. I contributed to a front page story in the wsj a week or two ago and have received a lot of feedback. Where are we in the electronic age? Well eavesdropping still seems to be bad. But is looking at your spouses email really the same as tapping their phone calls? Is it perhaps worse? It again all comes down to the expectation of privacy that our country tries so hard to protect. The South Carolina Supreme Court just weighed in on the issue saying that looking at your spouse’s email may not be wrong? See: http://www2.counton2.com/news/2012/oct/15/supreme-court-rules-favor-women-who-hacked-mans-e-ar-4761793/. But other courts differ.
My real question, is should there be a divorce exception? It is one thing for a company to steal important information from a competitor, but the desire of a spouse to know whether their companion has been faithful (romantically or even financially) is a hard desire to suppress. Not that wiretapping or invading privacy should be legalized for divorcing couples, but perhaps the punishment should be lowered? It is just such a hard urge for mst people to suppress, and while ignorance of the law is no excuse, most do not know they are committing a crime. After all, keystroke and other software is so readily available, and spouses usually feel that they are only “invading” their own computer, since after all, they are married and everything they own, they share, right?
It will be interesting to see what happens next. I am looking forward to the development of this issue as more cases reach the courts.