I'm hosting an international student in my house, and he is 18 years old. He has to use the WIFI in my house when doing homework or surfing on the internet. I had not acknowledged him that I monitor all the internet activities in the house simply because I own the WIFI devices. I have found out that he has been watching porn for a long time. After 2 months of tolerance, I finally confronted him saying that porn is not allowed in my house, which I didn't inform him before. I told his teacher about his online activity. We both came to a conclusion that he might be a porn addict, and might need a therapy. I also have the list of his website history, is it ok to keep? Do I have any right to disclose and share this info to anyone? Is the teacher allowed to tell anyone?He is not using my computer, and my account. It is his computer using my wifi network. His parents pay me rent without a contract. I was introduced by the student's advisor, which is the teacher I mentioned above, but I do not work officially with the school. I've already blocked the porn websites, so he can't watch them anymore. So, what my concerns now are that did I do anything illegal by "hacking" his online history? Did I break the law by telling this behavior to a teacher/anybody?
You need to speak with an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction...ASAP.
Your behavior may have placed you in a serious legal quagmire. Speak with an attorney in your jurisdiction who has wiretap and privacy experience, even if only to cover your six. How many other tenants have you wiretapped under the veil of "exchange student" sponsorship? Do you often discuss the sexual interests of your guests and renters with third parties? You may have even placed the school in a position of potential liability.
Your facts pretty much describe a textbook, black-letter-law, wiretap, public disclosure of private facts, and textbook support for statutory damages in lieu of actual damages. Whether that type of activity is legal in your jurisdiction is a question for an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, but regardless, since it involved a foreign national, the internet, and intercepted communications intended for foreign nationals, you could be liable under relevant Federal law.
The young man is a renter and you are a landlord. Depending on the landlord/tenant law in your jurisdiction, even a release document signed by the tenant may not allow for the wiretap activities you described and it would not likely allow you to run around town discussing your tenant's sexual hobbies.
The source of the funds used to pay his rent do not reduce his expectation of privacy, nor does his student status. If anything, his status as a foreign student makes the wiretapping activities even more repulsive to a reasonable person.
People that age have been known to commit suicide over sexual related personal information like that being disclosed to unintended third parties. Sexual activity, preference, and related issues are an extremely sensitive and socially awkward topic for most young American adults...in other cultures it can be even more sensitive and awkward.
Not only are you violating his privacy, but you are acting in a very strange manner! I would be very careful about hacking into someone's private internet account. You might also want to speak with a therapist about your behavior.
You should locate an attorney that practices in the area of privacy rights. Your facts raised a few issues. First, whether you can check your own wifi use of guests that use your account. Does he pay rent or do you get paid for his lodging? Also, whether or not the disclosure of private information to a teacher was appropriate. Another important thing for you to consider is whether he is downloading illegal images to your computer. You should consider banning him from using your wifi and electronic devices.
Yes, it looks like you are violating his privacy, and we're not sure why you care what and adult views on his computer. I'm sure you wouldn't like if he were looking at your web activities, and judging your moral wherewithal.
It is not uncommon for young men to watch porn and the fact that someone does so is not, in and of itself a sign of a problem. You ought to have told him about your rule ahead of time and also about the fact that you would be watching his internet activities. You have violated his privacy most grievously. Sharing the information with his teacher made it even worse. Destroy the history and stop snooping on the boy. He has a right to his privacy.
I am licensed in Pennsylvania. Members of my firm are licensed in various states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. We handle cases involving personal injury (car accidents slip and falls, etc.,) medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, workers' compensation, social security disability and legal malpractice. Nothing I write on Avvo is legal advice, but instead contains general educational information. Please do not act or refrain from acting based upon what you read in anything I write on Avvo without retaining your own lawyer in your state. Also please remember that this post does not form an attorney/client relationship between you and me. If you have specific legal questions, you should contact an attorney in your state for assistance.
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