Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

Social Media in Pennsylvania Family Law Part II: Can I Read My Spouse's Private Inbox Messages?

People often think that what goes in in their private Inbox messages is for their eyes alone. However, that is not always the case. Although the Inbox can allow people to communicate directly with each other outside of the prying eyes of all of their friends and followers on social media. It is not nearly as private as one might think.

Generally speaking private messages on various social media platforms can be subpoenaed. While this can be done rather simply in cases where a blog or forum site is run by an individual with limited involvement or readership. However, this becomes somewhat harder on the large social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram. Generally, it is much harder to serve a subpoena on Mark Zuckerberg, and he has a powerful legal team that can defeat them without blinking an eye. So what options are family law litigants in Pennsylvania have?

Although hacking into accounts belonging to your spouse is a violation of a number of state and federal laws and is strongly discouraged by most family law attorneys in Pennsylvania. There is a loophole that family law litigants should be aware of. If you and your ex still reside in the same residence, and they use a common computer or another private computer that is available to other people in the residence and is either not password protected or you know the password, there is nothing illegal about you reviewing the information available on that computer.

The same is true if they have abandoned their computer or cell phone at your shared residence after leaving. However, even if you know their username and password, you cannot log into their account from different computers to either review their information or post information under their profile.

As long as the information would be openly available to you without some complex NSA inspired password code breaking, this information can be used in court.

If you have additional questions, please contact our office today!

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