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Computer Law/ex-wife viewed my private facebook messages

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Question
Hello Dan,

My ex-wife came to my home while I was gone to take my youngest son to the doctor. My 12 and 14 year olds were home when she got there, (I had did not know she was coming by.) Once there, she asked my 12 year old if she could use my computer. She then accessed my facebook page (I keep it logged in, but have since changed that) and viewed my facebook messages. She then took pictures of 2 of my message threads from up to 2 years ago and forwarded at least one of them to my current girlfriend. My ex-wife was attempting to propose that the messages were sent during the time I was/am seeing my current girlfriend. At no time have I ever given her permission to access my computer or personal facebook information. Is this a crime? I have one of the pictures that she sent my girlfriend. She successfully guessed my yahoo password shortly after our divorce and read messages from her friends to me concerning damaging information that was used in our divorce. I chose not to deal with it at the time, but feel this has gone too far.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Answer
Steven, it would appear that your ex-wife exceeded any authorized use to your computer and is potentially on the hook for both civil and criminal liability.  The bigger question is if it's worth your time and money to pursue the issue, as you'd need to determine what your damages are (i.e., what are you entitled to receive for her actions?).  In my opinion, I would chalk it up to a lesson learned and to change your passwords frequently.

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Dan Pepper

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding all forms of Internet, technology, and multimedia law. Specific areas may include: website terms and conditions, privacy policies, copyright, trademark, domain name disputes, software and technology licensing, and website and software development agreements. More information can be found at informationlaw.com.

Experience

I've practiced law since 1994, representing dozens of ecommerce, Internet, and software companies.

Organizations
NJ State Bar Association PA State Bar Association American Bar Association American Corporate Counsel Association Internet & Computer Law Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association Somerset County Business Partnership Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Licensing Executives Society Free Speech Coalition Board of Advisors, Stevens Institute of Technology Communications

Education/Credentials
BA, Political Science; JD.

Past/Present Clients
Oracle Corporation, BEA Systems

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