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Divorce and data privacy in the digital age

The lack of privacy between marriage partners was a potential problem long before the arrival of the digital age. When things go wrong between spouses and each has access to personal information about the other, opportunities for the misuse of that information are undeniable.

But with so much data in digital form, the chances of a spouse misusing the other's private information have increased by leaps and bounds. In the Rockford area and across the country, electronic media are profoundly affecting many divorces.

Maybe you and your spouse use the same computer at home. If he or she forgets to log out of a private e-mail account, the temptation to snoop is there. The same is true for your spouse, if you are the one who forgets to log out.

But that is just the tip of the electronic iceberg. In a divorce case, electronic discovery can unearth these e-mails without snooping. And unlike paper letters, electronic communications leave a digital trail that is not easily to erase. It isn't only personal e-mail either; it's a host of other channels, including text messages, Skype chats, work e-mail and so on.

Indeed, the technology is available now for people to deploy an unprecedented array of electronic tools against their partners or former partners. This could such tactics as using hidden cameras for surveillance purposes or installing software to spy on cellphones or computers.

Some of this behavior can even cross the line into stalking or harassment. Federal courts are not in agreement on the application of the Wiretap Act to marital partners. But the key point is that, technological tools must be handled with care, whether you are getting divorced or not.

Source: "Watch what you say in electronic era," Chicago Tribune, Lisa Black, 11-20-12

Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Rockford divorce page.

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The Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, Inc. 728 North Court Street, Suite B Rockford, IL 61103 Phone: 815-981-4859 Fax: 815-997-5129 Rockford Law Office Map