Quoted: Is snooping spouse a hacker?

“The guy is a hacker. It was password protected, he had wonderful skills, and was highly trained. Then he downloaded them and used them in a very contentious way.”

— Jessica Cooper, prosecutor who has charged Leon Walker of Michigan with a felony under a state statute that the Detroit Free Press says is typically used against identity theft or stealing state secrets. Walker, a county IT worker, logged on to his wife’s Gmail account on a laptop he shared with his wife (now ex-wife) and read her messages. The story is more convoluted, but he discovered she was cheating on him with her ex-husband. Two judges have reportedly refused to throw out the case, and Walker will be tried in February. He faces up to five years in prison.


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  • sd

    “He had wonderful skills.”

    Translated: He figured out her password was either the cat’s name or her favorite phrase. You don’t need to be an IT worker to figure out the passwords most people use. Not saying what he did was right, but we’re not talking Kevin Mitnick skill levels here.

  • Paul Corsa

    The legal questions will be:1) who owned the laptop?;2) who paid for the internet service?;3) why isn’t she being charged with Adultery?

  • long sigh

    Wow, an email account with a password. How unusual, why would gmail require that? Oh, a husband and wife shared the laptop, how unusual. What about their checking account?
    Gee, he found out his wife was screwing him over. There is the real crime in the female prosocuters eyes, and maybe some female judges eyes too. I bet if a woman did that to her husband, she would be entirely justified. Right? RIGHT?
    long sigh

  • RedRat

    Hmm. Isn’t there something about community property at play here? As to adultery, how 1980s is that. All depends on the state I guess if adultery is a crime anymore, I doubt that it is. Real question here is whether married couples have a right to privacy from each other. Since in our so-called “Christian Evangelical” nation, aren’t wives subject to their husbands?? Hmm. In any case, this guy was no true hacker or particularly skilled, that argument is absolute nonsense.

    At the same time, spouses do have rights to know what the other is doing in a marriage. What is the difference here between hiring a private detective to follow your spouse if you suspect him/her of cheating on you? If you can get a PI to do this, then why not yourself follow your spouse to a suspected liaison.

  • Patrick

    Of course it begs to question when any articles in this vein appear, aren’t there not enough real criminals for Ms. Cooper to persue?

  • densely

    If the “wonderful skills” needed to get access to this account extended no further than the ability to read the password out of a readily-accessible notebook, the wife’s expectation of privacy was somewhat less than reasonable.

  • paul

    I think that given the shared laptop, it could be argued that expectations of privacy would be limited — Perhaps his wife used the ‘ever so handy’ auto login for Gmail….

    treat computer communications as public knowledge.. and don’t say anything you don’t want others to know!!!

    Lawyers will get richer, and taxpayers will be on the hook

    as always