You Can Be Federally Prosecuted for Hacking Your Spouse’s Email

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There’s an interesting story over at Mother Jones that discusses two men that were recently charged in a federal court for operating an e-mail hacking business through the website needapassword.com.  The men’s standard client?  Jealous or suspicious spouses.  As much as this may invoke a conversation about privacy and security on the internet, it also invokes one about privacy and security in a relationship.

The site advertised its services with an interesting premise:

“Is your spouse cheating with someone? Do you know who they are? You have the right to read the personal thoughts your spouse is writing to others…”

Obviously being in a committed relationship itself demands to the right to transparency regarding romantic endeavors (though every relationship is different), but people do not have the right to “read the personal thoughts” of their partners.  It’s a harmful notion that personal thoughts are actually thoughts we are hiding from our partners.  What you share with your partner is just as important as what you don’t share or don’t need to share.

Services like this bring up a lot of mixed feelings.  There will always be instances where the hard proof of someone’s infidelities are the only catalyst for a sincere conversation.  But creating a service catering to fleeting emotions like jealousy and suspicion can shift the basis from an emotional interaction to one simply based on hacking and search results.

And the $50-$350/per password (the normal asking price range for needapassword.com) cost of hiring someone to phish your partner’s info may not work out anyway.  Apparently, three people were indicted last week for paying hackers to obtain passwords.  So do you think it’s worth it to pay for proof?  Even if there’s a chance that proof won’t be there?