Is it illegal for my husband to snoop through my computer files?

My husband knows my computer passwords and I suspect that he may have gone through my electronic files. I’m worried about what he may have read. Is this kind of spying a crime?

By Brian S. Loughmiller
March 03, 2014

Brian S. Loughmiller, a family lawyer in McKinney, answers:

Computer technology, phones with texting capability and email have changed the dynamics of family-law litigation. Often times the majority of evidence used in a divorce case are text messages, emails, Facebook account images, etc. If the computer used to access the information was a computer generally used by all family members who have access to passwords, the court may determine that your husband may not have violated your right to privacy by accessing the files. If your computer was password-protected and the evidence shows that the password was not obtained by agreement, then his accessing your files may be illegal. The general rule of law under eavesdropping legislation is whether the party had an expectation of privacy based on the information being password-protected. You should note that other means of obtaining the information exists – including a motion by your spouse’s attorney to have the hard drive of your computer produced in order to gain information.

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March 03, 2014
Categories:  Legal Issues|FAQs

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