Can I be jailed for hacking into my wife's facebook account?

Full Question:

I knew my wife was hiding secrets from me so I got into her email so I could access her facebook account. I found out that she was having an affair with a coworker. I copied and pasted their comments to a word document for the purpose of proof. I am going to inform his wife since he is married as well. I lost my daughter since she took her once I found out. She is now threatening me that if I tell his wife I am going to jail for a long time. What should I do?
04/19/2009   |   Category: Internet ยป Hacking   |   State: Wisconsin   |   #16050

Answer:

The law surrounding the unauthorized access of computer and internet information is evolving, and state or federal laws may apply. If the unauthorized access of information is obtained from an individual’s computer, the common-law tort of invasion of privacy may provide a civil remedy. Please see the information at the links below for information relating to federal laws.


The following are Wisconsin statutes:

995.50 Right of privacy.

(1) The right of privacy is recognized in this state. One whose
privacy is unreasonably invaded is entitled to the following relief:

(a) Equitable relief to prevent and restrain such invasion, excluding
prior restraint against constitutionally protected communication
privately and through the public media;


(b) Compensatory damages based either on plaintiff's loss or
defendant's unjust enrichment; and


(c) A reasonable amount for attorney fees.



(2) In this section, "invasion of privacy" means any of the
following:

(a) Intrusion upon the privacy of another of a nature highly
offensive to a reasonable person, in a place that a reasonable person
would consider private or in a manner which is actionable for
trespass.

(b) The use, for advertising purposes or for purposes of trade, of
the name, portrait or picture of any living person, without having
first obtained the written consent of the person or, if the person is
a minor, of his or her parent or guardian.

(c) Publicity given to a matter concerning the private life of
another, of a kind highly offensive to a reasonable person, if the
defendant has acted either unreasonably or recklessly as to whether
there was a legitimate public interest in the matter involved, or
with actual knowledge that none existed. It is not an invasion of
privacy to communicate any information available to the public as a
matter of public record.

(d) Conduct that is prohibited under s. 942.09, regardless of whether
there has been a criminal action related to the conduct, and
regardless of the outcome of the criminal action, if there has been a
criminal action related to the conduct.

(3) The right of privacy recognized in this section shall be
interpreted in accordance with the developing common law of privacy,
including defenses of absolute and qualified privilege, with due
regard for maintaining freedom of communication, privately and
through the public media.

(4) Compensatory damages are not limited to damages for pecuniary
loss, but shall not be presumed in the absence of proof.

(6)
(a) If judgment is entered in favor of the defendant in an action
for invasion of privacy, the court shall determine if the action was
frivolous. If the court determines that the action was frivolous, it
shall award the defendant reasonable fees and costs relating to the
defense of the action.

(b) In order to find an action for invasion of privacy to be
frivolous under par. (a), the court must find either of the
following:

1. The action was commenced in bad faith or for harassment purposes.


2. The action was devoid of arguable basis in law or equity.


(7) No action for invasion of privacy may be maintained under this
section if the claim is based on an act which is permissible under
ss. 196.63 or 968.27 to 968.37.

943.70 Computer crimes.

(1) Definitions. In this section:

(ag) "Access" means to instruct, communicate with, interact with,
intercept, store data in, retrieve data from, or otherwise use the
resources of.

(am) "Computer" means an electronic device that performs logical,
arithmetic and memory functions by manipulating electronic or
magnetic impulses, and includes all input, output, processing,
storage, computer software and communication facilities that are
connected or related to a computer in a computer system or computer
network.

(b) "Computer network" means the interconnection of communication
lines with a computer through remote terminals or a complex
consisting of 2 or more interconnected computers.

(c) "Computer program" means an ordered set of instructions or
statements that, when executed by a computer, causes the computer to
process data.

(d) "Computer software" means a set of computer programs, procedures
or associated documentation used in the operation of a computer
system.

(dm) "Computer supplies" means punchcards, paper tape, magnetic tape,
disk packs, diskettes and computer output, including paper and
microform.

(e) "Computer system" means a set of related computer equipment,
hardware or software.

(f) "Data" means a representation of information, knowledge, facts,
concepts or instructions that has been prepared or is being prepared
in a formalized manner and has been processed, is being processed or
is intended to be processed in a computer system or computer network.
Data may be in any form including computer printouts, magnetic
storage media, punched cards and as stored in the memory of the
computer. Data are property.

(g) "Financial instrument" includes any check, draft, warrant, money
order, note, certificate of deposit, letter of credit, bill of
exchange, credit or credit card, transaction authorization mechanism,
marketable security and any computer representation of them.

(gm) "Interruption in service" means inability to access a computer,
computer program, computer system, or computer network, or an
inability to complete a transaction involving a computer.

(h) "Property" means anything of value, including but not limited to
financial instruments, information, electronically produced data,
computer software and computer programs.

(i) "Supporting documentation" means all documentation used in the
computer system in the construction, clarification, implementation,
use or modification of the software or data.

(2) Offenses against computer data and programs.

(a) Whoever willfully, knowingly and without authorization does any
of the following may be penalized as provided in pars. (b) and (c):

1. Modifies data, computer programs or supporting documentation.


2. Destroys data, computer programs or supporting documentation.


3. Accesses computer programs or supporting documentation.


4. Takes possession of data, computer programs or supporting
documentation.


5. Copies data, computer programs or supporting documentation.


6. Discloses restricted access codes or other restricted access
information to unauthorized persons.


(am) Whoever intentionally causes an interruption in service by
submitting a message, or multiple messages, to a computer, computer
program, computer system, or computer network that exceeds the
processing capacity of the computer, computer program, computer
system, or computer network may be penalized as provided in pars. (b)
and (c).

(b) Whoever violates par. (a) or (am) is guilty of:

1. A Class A misdemeanor unless any of subds. 2. to 4. applies.


2. A Class I felony if the offense is committed to defraud or to
obtain property.


3g. A Class F felony if the offense results in damage valued at more
than $2,500.


3r. A Class F felony if the offense causes an interruption or
impairment of governmental operations or public communication, of
transportation, or of a supply of water, gas, or other public
service.


4. A Class F felony if the offense creates a substantial and
unreasonable risk of death or great bodily harm to another.

(c) If a person disguises the identity or location of the computer at
which he or she is working while committing an offense under par. (a)
or (am) with the intent to make it less likely that he or she will be
identified with the crime, the penalties under par. (b) may be
increased as follows:

1. In the case of a misdemeanor, the maximum fine prescribed by law
for the crime may be increased by not more than $1,000 and the
maximum term of imprisonment prescribed by law for the crime may be
increased so that the revised maximum term of imprisonment is one
year in the county jail.

2. In the case of a felony, the maximum fine prescribed by law for
the crime may be increased by not more than $2,500 and the maximum
term of imprisonment prescribed by law for the crime may be increased
by not more than 2 years.

(3) Offenses against computers, computer equipment or supplies.

(a) Whoever willfully, knowingly and without authorization does any
of the following may be penalized as provided in par. (b):

1. Modifies computer equipment or supplies that are used or intended
to be used in a computer, computer system or computer network.


2. Destroys, uses, takes or damages a computer, computer system,
computer network or equipment or supplies used or intended to be used
in a computer, computer system or computer network.

(b) Whoever violates this subsection is guilty of:

1. A Class A misdemeanor unless subd. 2., 3. or 4. applies.


2. A Class I felony if the offense is committed to defraud or obtain
property.


3. A Class H felony if the damage to the computer, computer system,
computer network, equipment or supplies is greater than $2,500.


4. A Class F felony if the offense creates a substantial and
unreasonable risk of death or great bodily harm to another.

(4) Computer use restriction. In addition to the other penalties
provided for violation of this section, a judge may place
restrictions on the offender's use of computers. The duration of any
such restrictions may not exceed the maximum period for which the
offender could have been imprisoned; except if the offense is
punishable by forfeiture, the duration of the restrictions may not
exceed 90 days.

(5) Injunctive relief. Any aggrieved party may sue for injunctive
relief under ch. 813 to compel compliance with this section. In
addition, owners, lessors, users or manufacturers of computers, or
associations or organizations representing any of those persons, may
sue for injunctive relief to prevent or stop the disclosure of
information which may enable another person to gain unauthorized
access to data, computer programs or supporting documentation.

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