"A person shall not intentionally and without authorization or by exceeding valid authorization do any of the following:
"Access or cause access to be made to a computer program, computer, computer system or computer network to acquire, alter, damage delete or destroy property or otherwise use the service of a computer program, computer, computer system or computer network."
An understanding of how e-mail is transmitted is necessary to grasp the basis of the courts’ rulings related to e-mail retrieval.
Sent e-mail is temporarily stored on the service provider’s server until the recipient retrieves it. E-mail is retrieved from the server after the subscriber enters a password, accesses the e-mail, and opens it. Once the e-mail is opened, it is stored on the computer’s hard drive. In the case of AOL, the e-mail is automatically stored on the computer’s hard drive in the AOL Personal File Cabinet or PFC. E-mail will remain on the PFC until manually deleted. There is usually no automatic password protection provided for the PFC. The result is that anyone can open the service provider’s software on a computer’s hard drive and read the PFC e-mails stored there.
Courts have consistently held that retrieving and accessing of e-mail stored on a computer is not a violation of ECPA or the wiretapping statutes because the ‘‘transmission’’ of the e-mail is complete, and reading stored e-mail is not an intercepted transmission. In White v White,8 White exchanged e-mails with his girlfriend that were stored on the family computer. Mrs. White hired an investigative service to obtain her husband’s e-mails from their computer. The court held that retrieving such stored e-mail did not violate the law because it was in its ‘‘post-transmission’’ storage.
"The problem with prosecuting people for merely reading other people’s e-mails is that it is just so easy to do when the parties are in a relationship, Rikki Klieman, a criminal defense attorney and former Court TV anchor, told Natalie Morales Tuesday on TODAY.
If prosecutors around the country follow Michigan’s lead and apply hacking laws to husbands, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, the criminal courts will be deluged with cases that rightly belong before family court judges, Klieman said. 'Are we going to put all of these people in prison? Are we going to prosecute people for felonies? If the legislature wants to enact a specific law that says "Thou shalt not look at thy spouse’s intimate e-mails," let them go ahead and do it,' she added. 'You would think there is more serious crime they have to deal with.'"*
" ... Whatever was actually going on in the Walker household, one thing is abundantly clear: If Oakland County law enforcement and prosecutors have time to handle this case then Brooks Patterson needs to – in the interest of public safety – reassign some of these people to Oakland County’s understaffed road crews.
Laura Berman expressed what is likely the conventional wisdom on this case in her Detroit News column this morning. Leon Walker was wrong, but not really that wrong.
Dec. 28, Detroit News: 'At its best, Leon Walker's behavior was likely inappropriate and perhaps obnoxious.
But Clara Walker's behavior wasn't great either.'Why were Leon Walker’s actions inappropriate, exactly? Why is it necessary to equivocate a defense?
Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper accuses him of 'hacking' but it’s not as though the guy was trolling Gawker for passwords or implanting a virus on a corporate network. Dude checked his wife’s email.
And yes, his actions prove he has the technical ability to engage in even more nefarious hacking. Of course, I have the physical ability to chop up my neighbor with a machete but (promise) I’m no more likely to do that than Leon Walker is likely to steal your credit card information from Amazon.
Sex columnist Dan Savage, no one’s idea of a prudish busybody, makes a compelling argument that spousal snooping isn’t only not obnoxious but normal behavior.
April 8, The Stranger: 'Expecting your partner not to snoop is like expecting your partner not to fart or fantasize about other people. It's a nice thought, JB, but knowing what we know about human nature—and knowing that we ourselves snoop, fart, and fantasize about other people—it's a little unrealistic.
And I'm sorry, but when someone goes snooping and discovers that their partner is doing sex work—or is secretly gay or is sleeping with or visiting lesbian-bondage-themed nightclubs with Michael Steele—then the snooping is retroactively justified."Consider this case from another angle. If Leon Walker suspected his wife had a drug or gambling problem and (after a bit of digital or analog snooping) discovered she was squirreling away money for her special vice, would anyone find his behavior distasteful?
Good Lord, no.
If Walker’s snooping discovered misappropriated money instead of misappropriated sex, we’d self-righteously prattle on about the legal principles of community property in marriage, how she was technically stealing from the marital pot.
He might even score an invite on Oprah or some equally dreary program to share his heart-breaking story about bravely trying to help his wife fight her addiction.
But Leon Walker’s case is about sex instead of money so Oakland County law enforcement thinks society has a compelling interest in protecting Clara Walker’s right to hide her infidelity from her husband.
That says more about the cops and prosecutors in Oakland County than it does about Leon Walker."
'At its best, Leon Walker's behavior was likely inappropriate and perhaps obnoxious.
But Clara Walker's behavior wasn't great either.'
'Expecting your partner not to snoop is like expecting your partner not to fart or fantasize about other people. It's a nice thought, JB, but knowing what we know about human nature—and knowing that we ourselves snoop, fart, and fantasize about other people—it's a little unrealistic.
And I'm sorry, but when someone goes snooping and discovers that their partner is doing sex work—or is secretly gay or is sleeping with or visiting lesbian-bondage-themed nightclubs with Michael Steele—then the snooping is retroactively justified."
It seems that what he did with the info after reading would be the crime, not hacking/reading in and of itself.
1. did he lose his temper and threaten her? Crime
2. did he take financial info and use it for personal gain? Crime
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