Spying on Your Spouse Via Unauthorized Computer Access is a Crime in Minnesota

spyMinnesota has laws against unauthorized computer access. If you are logging onto a social media site or accessing your spouse’s e-mail and you don’t have the passwords, but you guess right and, suddenly you have access, then you are breaking Minnesota law. Minnesota law considers any unauthorized computer access criminal conduct and it doesn’t matter if the parties are married and in the middle of a divorce.

A 2012 Michigan criminal case charged Husband with a felony for unauthorized access to his Wife’s e-mails. He said he wanted information on her extra-marital affair.  The spouses were in the middle of a divorce. Wife became suspicious when private e-mail information began appearing in court documents  Wife filed a complaint and Husband was charged.

The criminal matter against Husband was dismissed, but only after the Court found that the Wife had accessed her husband’s private electronic accounts as well.

Most states have unauthorized access laws on the books. How unauthorized access to electronic accounts will play out in a divorce is yet to be determined. Every one was watching the Michigan case to see how that Court would charge Husband as sort of an indicator. But, with the case dismissed just how far the system will go in charging a spying spouse is still a question.  There are no Minnesota cases involving a spying spouse in a divorce proceeding– yet.

How to Protect Your Private Information Pre-Divorce and During the Divorce

  • Change all of your passwords to something that your spouse would not be able to guess; for example, do not use your pet’s name; your kid’s names or dates of birth -make it unique
  • Do not keep a log of your passwords either hard-copy or on the computer
  • Do not save your text messages or if you do, then set  your smart phone to lock itself after a short interval and chose a unique new password
  • Don’t put anything on a social media site that you wouldn’t want your mother to read

PDF:   MN Statute Definitions for Computer Hacking  and Computer Anti-Hacking Statute

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Family Lawyer & Mediator

(320) 217-6030 or kaw@katewillmorelaw.com

www.katewillmorelaw.com   www.katewillmoremediation.com   www.katewillmorewillstrusts.com

Copyright 2013

About Kate Willmore, Esq.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, divorce, custody and family attorney brings over 25 years experience to every client's legal matter. *** Licensed in Minnesota and in California

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