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Legal-Guru
Legal-Guru, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Experienced Criminal Trial Attorney since 1998.
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Is it illegal to read another persons email

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Is it illegal to read another persons email?
The law varies from state to state. What state are you in?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I live in Maine. I pay for the internet service that supports my wife's cell phone email and text messages. And pay for the phone service. I read an email on her phone, thinking it was about our boat. Stated "Marina". It was an email from the boat mechanic, who I now know is having an affair with her. Is it illegal to read her email. She handed the phone to me, and I saw the email "Marina", so I opened it in front of her, and realized that she was covering up her affair via this coded message system.
I'm sorry to hear of your situation.

Title 17-A Section 432 of the Maine Criminal Code states, "A person is guilty of criminal invasion of computer privacy if the person intentionally accesses any computer resource knowing that the person is not authorized to do so."

Who's paying for the service does not matter, but given the circumstances of her handing you the phone and your lack of intent to invade her privacy because you thought it was an email regarding your boat, I would be very surprised if any prosecutor would file criminal charges on those facts.
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