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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 87773
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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What can one do for email or facebook harassment when the other

Resolved Question:

What can one do for email or facebook harassment when the other person lives in a different state than I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is Ely. Welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice; and (2) my function is to give you honest information and not necessarily to tell you what you wish to hear. Note: there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your situation. Can you please tell me what state the individual is in, and what state you are in, and how are statements harassing - what exactly are they doing? Are they threatening you? Defaming you? Can you please clarify.

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


I live in Maryland and she lives in Pennsylvania. The messages are pertaining to her accessing my email acct., and there is nothing I can legally because I left my email window open on her computer. I told her not to communicate with me any longer. On facebook she keeps posting she did nothing illegal etc.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, M.

First of all, even if you left your email window open, this does not give her the right to look at it. Under 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 7611, a person commits the offense of unlawful use of a computer if he accesses or exceeds authorization to access, alters, damages or destroys any computer...

According to 7601:

"Access." To intercept, instruct, communicate with, store data in, retrieve data from or otherwise make use of any resources of a computer, computer system, computer network or database.

So this may be viewed as hacking anyhow. But, that is not the point, in that you are not trying to get her into trouble, but simply to have her leave you alone.

To sue in state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state. Every cause of action has its own elements, and each element has to be satisfied for a cause of action to be successful in court.

What a party in your situation may wish to do is to send them an email (or a written letter) stating that unless they cease and desist with this matter, you will sue them for defamation in that they are dragging your name though the mud, so to speak.

Example:

Dear __________,

This is pertaining to your continuous and false allegations of me accusing you of an illegal act. I have not done so, and, I do not plan to do so. At this time, demand is made that these allegations are stopped and your postings on social media in regards XXXXX XXXXX matter cease.

If they do not, I may have no choice but to seek relief in court under defamation. Defamation is : (1) a defamatory communication; (2) falsity; (3) fault; and (4) harm. See, e.g., Shapiro v. Massengill, 105 Md. App. 743, 772, 661 A.2d 202, 216-17, cert. denied, 341 Md. 28, 668 A.2d 36 (1995).

I now consider this matter closed and expect my request to be honored. If it is not, I may have no choice but to seek relief in Court.

Sincerely

Signature

Name


Very likely, this will have them think twice before posting anything else like this.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

IMPORTANT: Please use REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces before submitting the rating, because this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects negatively on me as an expert, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. Do not worry, you may always ask follow ups free after rating. My ultimate goal is your complete satisfaction.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


She said I left my email window open on her computer in her home not mine, Can see legally do that? and read all my emails? I do not recall accessing my email acct on her computer

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
M,

Can see legally do that? and read all my emails?

Arguably, no. Under 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 7611, a person commits the offense of unlawful use of a computer if he accesses or exceeds authorization to access, alters, damages or destroys any computer...

She arguably exceeded authorization by accessing the window, even if it was open. That does not allow her to open an email and read its content.

By an analogy, simply because I see my friend's wallet, this does not allow me to open the wallet and take a dollar.

Of course, if you wish to pursue her for this, then there are two ways to go about doing so:

1) Criminal complaint to the police in her county. Then, the authorities will decide whether or not to charge her;

and

2) A civil suit for invasion of privacy that you can bring against her.

- - -

You original question asked how you can stop her from posting defamatory comments about you, and this is what most of my reply was about - options to stop her from doing so. This reply focuses more on your options if you want to her pursue her for her breach of your privacy, in a criminal and/or civil way.

IMPORTANT: Please use REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces before submitting the rating, because this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects negatively on me as an expert, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. Do not worry, you may always ask follow ups free after rating. My ultimate goal is your complete satisfaction.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 87773
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Ely and 9 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have, over the past several weeks consulted by phone several attorneys in my area, all have said the same thing. Without the actual IP addresses on the ip logs I have rec'd from Microsoft during the time of the incident or incidents, as on the report from Microsoft for 34 straight days, there are NO ip addresses not even mine. I have no way of filing a suit , and I need to file a suit against her to obtain by Subpoena to Microsoft to obtain the ip addresses. ( It is as the attorneys said, "the chicken and egg case" can't do one w/o the other, and vice versa...

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for your follow up.

I must essentially agree with the fact that is is hard to prove unauthorized access via IP logs this way. And yes, one cannot obtain the IP records without a subpoena, which first requires a suit to be filed.

However, depending on what she has written on her Facebook wall, and on yours, etc, those words can be taken and used as proof as her "confession," therefore giving you possible proof that she did this...
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


I have one more question and a concern of mine. Is it illegal to use "spy bubble" or software to track someone location, phone conversations and emails, and text messages etc. via Iphone and other devices of the same like?

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello friend,

Yes, that is illegal under Md. Criminal Code Ann. § 7-302, arguably. See here.

"A person may not intentionally, willfully, and without
authorization access, attempt to access, cause to be accessed, or exceed the
person’s authorized access to all or part of a computer network, computer control
language, computer, computer software, computer system, computer services, or
computer database"

So if someone is doing the above, it arguably falls under this...
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

If the software was downloaded in Pa. but attached to a cell phone in Md. then what is the situation according to the law? And reversing the 2 states.
Is this just a state law or federal law?

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
M,

This is state law.

The complaint can either end up in the state wherein the individual lives, or, where the phone in question was hacked into. This is up to the prosecutors of both states to work out.

However, even if this ended up in PA and not MD, this is still illicit, arguably, under 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 7601 - 7616, which also disallows hacking, similarly.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Financially, I think I will sue this person for , invasion of privacy in a small claims suit, my question is , can she counter sue about something different than the reason for my suit?

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
M,

Thank you for your follow up. I trust you are well.

Small courts in MD are limited to money and property issues, really. This would likely be a "full" suit in district court.

can she counter sue about something different than the reason for my suit?

No, provided that your accusations are not groundless or frivolous.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


The small claims suit has to be filed in Pa. since that is where she lives.


The problem I have is getting the ip addresses from Microsoft since during the time she accessed my email acct., there are no ip addresses showing on the log report even mine as I accessed my email everyday and should be on the report, I can not at this time afford the legal fees yet to sue in order to acquire a subpoena to get those ip addresses from Microsoft to show absolute proof.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Okay.

A party first needs to initiate the suit to be able to file a subpoena. If you are fairly sure that you can prove its her, you may file suit and on the same day or later, file the subpoena when you are ready.

Good luck.

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