Every so often we hear a major news story about hacking. Some make us chuckle for example when a hacker replaced the face of the leader of the Spanish Socialist Party with that of Mr Bean. Others are more sinister, for example the hacking of Google earlier this year by senior Chinese officials.
Luckily for the most part these stories don’t affect us directly and besides being of fleeting interest at the time we probably give them little thought afterwards.
However, without realising it many of us could easily be accused of being a hacker and in what might seeem like a nightmare scenario find ourselves faced with up to five years in prison. This is what has happened to a husband who suspected his wife of having an affair. Wracked with suspicion he decided to read his wife’s emails to find evidence. When his wife found out she went to the police and he has now been charged under anti-hacking legislation in the U.S.
Yes, ethically what he did was wrong but does the punishment really fit the crime?
Many of us know the log-in details to our partner’s email and social networking accounts. Some of us probably never use them, others, like myself, regularly access their partner’s accounts with their blessing. But, perhaps by doing so we might be leaving ourselves open to criminal charges in the future should our relationship ever turn sour.
This could be used as a discussion point when looking at hacking, system security, the Computer Misuse Act or the ethical use of ICT.