Is it legal for someone to read your email if you don't log out? Do you have to unlock your phone if a police officer asks? Can a private Facebook
post be used against you in court? If these are questions that you don't know the answer to then read on...
Here is a list of five things that you should know regarding your own personal digital affairs:
1.Not Logging Off Email May be Tacit Authorisation for Snooping
In a recent case in New Jersey a woman filed a lawsuit against a man who read her email when she left it open. She logged into her email on a public computer, walked away, and never logged out. Then, a coworker of hers noticed it and decided to take a look at her email when he saw his name mentioned in a subject line. The case went to court and the jury decided that since she left her email open the man wasn't at fault when he looked at her email.
2.You Do Not Have to Give Out Passwords without a Warrant
Your computer is protected from police searches in the exact same way as your house and body. Police cannot search your computer without a warrant specifically stating that the computer is part of the search.
3. Employers Can Legally Monitor Your Computer and Smartphone Usage
It shouldn't be surprising that if you're using an employer's computer or cell phone then your employer has the right to monitor what you're doing with it. It's not just your general computer usage your employer can peek at. In some cases they have the right to monitor all your conversations.
4. Most Web Services Can (and Will) Snoop On Your Data and Hand it over to “the Man”
It shouldn't be surprising that many web services snoop. In short, when you sign a Terms of Service you're often giving a web service access to everything you're doing. It also means that the government only needs to file a subpoena with a web service to take a look at your files.
5. Public and Private Posts on Social Networks May Be Used Against You
If you're doing something illegal you should not post about it in a public forum or privately because the police may very well find it. A judge can order you to hand over Facebook passwords in a divorce, Twitter
was forced to hand over Occupy Protestors tweets, and you might even lose a disability case due to a status update.
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