Does going through someome’s cell phone without permission constitute an invasion of privacy?

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Does going through someome’s cell phone without permission constitute an invasion of privacy?

My friend emailed me to tell me that she read through my phone messages and she was very upset. She then proceeded to email my friends the information she found in the texts, and now, they are also upset.

Asked on January 22, 2012 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you left your phone in an area that would make it vulnerable to being taken or read, you need to be aware that nowadays that can be tempting to many people. Open unlocked phones nowadays with smartphone features are more and more vulnerable to being read and accessed by those who have no business in the phone without your permission or absent an emergency. Yes, what your "friend" did was an invasion of privacy and unfortunately, she has already rung the bell so at this point you need to decide what your next step is. If you plan on suing her for an invasion of privacy and publication of personal emails, it can be construed as also being identity theft if she essentially pretended to be you by sending those emails or forwarding them from your account.


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