Avoid Criminal Wrongdoing Before Accessing Your Spouse’s Electronic Information

By Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. of Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. posted in Divorce on Tuesday, April 3, 2012.

By Bruce E. Friedman

Over the course of the last few years, we have seen a tremendous change in how information is gathered, stored and disseminated. As individuals, we have access to technology that was only dreamed of a few short years ago.

Computers, cell phones, recording devices, GPS tracking systems, and spyware are among the electronic devices and tools readily available to us all. Also, many individuals even have access to chat rooms, other social media (e.g., Facebook, Linked In, Twitter), in addition to e-mail, voice mail, texting, photographs and videos on their cell phones or other devices.

Many people today no longer retain paper and keep all their files in an electronic format. Protecting yourself and your documents is paramount in the divorce process. Making sure you do not violate Federal or state laws before you attempt to access electronic information of your spouse or other people is critical.

The use of the technology that is now available changes how we, as attorneys, analyze problems, resolve situations and communicate.

Information can be stored and retrieved by the person who created it or even by someone else without your authorization and possibly violate Federal and state criminal laws and also possibly permit a civil action for invasion of privacy or other causes of action.

The laws in each state, as well as Federal laws, are specific and unique to electronic information. Sometimes it appears that the pace of technological development exceeds existing laws.

It is critical that you talk to your attorney about how you conduct yourself, store your own data, and how you use electronic information, as well as any consideration of accessing the information of another person.

Frequently, there is no simple answer. It is imperative that you discuss with your family law attorney how you personally handle storage of information, what information you may have already retrieved from another person (or that you’re considering to retrieve) and what information may have been retrieved from your personal storage containment.

Disclaimer

Bruce E. Friedman

Bruce E. Friedman

With over 30 years of practice, St. Louis family law attorney Bruce E. Friedman has provided guidance in complex financial issues including high net worth individuals, business valuations, and maintenance. Additionally, Mr. Friedman provides other services such as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements and domestic partnership agreements.
Bruce E. Friedman

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