CanI be charged with e-mail hacking or anything ifsomeone gave metheir password?

UPDATED: Feb 23, 2011

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CanI be charged with e-mail hacking or anything ifsomeone gave metheir password?

He gave me his e-mail password and I changed it. I don’t remember what it is to give it to him; he is my ex and has been harassing me about it and threatening me. What can I do?

Asked on February 23, 2011 under Criminal Law, West Virginia


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Computer hacking is broadly defined as intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeding authorized access. So even though your ex gave you his e-mail password for whatever reason, I would say that changing his password would be considered "exceeding authorized access."  I doubt that he wanted only you to be able to access his account and shut him out, correct?  Various state and federal laws govern computer hacking. There is the Federal Computer fraud and Abuse Act as well as various state laws I am sure that have gone in to existence in the post computer explosion era.  I would try and remember or do what ever it takes to change it to something you can remember and that will give you access and then give him the password. 

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