Listen up, suspicious husbands, nosy wives, and exes who just can't let go: unpermitted snooping into your partner's email may be a violation of the federal Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act. That is, according to a recent decision from the Seventh Circuit.
The case involves a contentious divorce between Paula and Barry Epstein. Paula accused Barry of "serial infidelity." Barry demanded proof. Much to his surprise, Paula handed over Barry's own, purloined emails. Barry sued, saying that his soon-to-be ex-wife had violated the Wiretap Act. It was an interpretation of the act the Seventh Circuit endorsed, though it noted that "Congress probably didn't anticipate" the use of the Wiretap Act "as a tactical weapon in a divorce proceeding."