Old 08-03-2008, 09:50 AM Offline   #1 (permalink)



 
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Default Where To Draw the Line When Punishing Email Snooping?

CWmike writes "While it might seem like a practical joke or a harmless, furtive glance, e-mail snooping could land you in more hot water than you'd ever expect — you could be charged with a federal crime. The recent case of a Philadelphia TV news anchor charged with breaking into his co-anchor's e-mail accounts shines a light on the seriousness of such snooping. Scott Christie, a former federal prosecutor who headed up the computer hacking section at the U.S. Attorney's Office, said, 'You look over someone's shoulder and read a personal letter and that's not a crime, so how can it be a crime to access someone's e-mail? It's not the same thing, of course... What you're dong when you're accessing e-mail is affirmatively exceeding your access to electronic documents and systems.' He adds: 'Usually, you're doing that by pretending to be that person to break into their account.'" It's worth noting that the Philadelphia man accessed his co-worker's email over 500 times, and his use of the information he found was hardly harmless. However, the rules and conventions for email privacy are much less familiar to most people than the laws regarding snail mail. At what point does a privacy breach demand punishment?
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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