Reading Wife's Email Illegal? Man Faces Up To 5 Years

The Detroit Free Press - and most TV news - have the story of a man who went through his wife's email when he suspected she was having an affair. Using a password protected laptop in the house he shared with his wife, the man discovered she was cheating with her ex-husband.

"Leon Walker was Clara Walker's third husband. Her e-mail showed she was having an affair with her second husband, a man who once had been arrested for beating her in front of her small son. Leon Walker, worried that the child might be exposed to domestic violence again, handed the e-mails over to the child's father, Clara Walker's first husband. He promptly filed an emergency motion to obtain custody," the Detroit Free Press reported,

Oakland County prosecutors, using a Michigan statute normally used to prosecute identity theft or stealing trade secrets, charged Leon Walker, 33, with a felony after he logged onto a laptop he shared with his wife.

When I searched for this story my results in Google's general search could be guilty of aiding and abetting. The first listing for "spouse email spying" is a eHow listing tell you to "Check your spouse's email often. Many people use email as a way to communicate with those they don't want a spouse to know about. Because email is password protected, it can be hard to check. However, if you know your spouse's password for other applications, it might be the same one she uses for email and other online activities," eHow states.

But the third listing from DivorceNet does warn: "there are very strict laws which apply to electronic communications such as emails, computer communications (e.g., chat rooms, instant messages) and telephone calls. Spouses who attempt to spy on a cheating spouse using surveillance equipment should be aware that they could find themselves on the wrong side of the law."

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.