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Is logging into someone's email account illegal if they previously gave you their password?

Chicago, IL |

In March 2009, I logged into my ex-boyfriend's email account (he gave me his password when we were together & never changed it after we broke up; I didn't necessarily have permission to login to his email account that day but he also never told me to never login after our breakup) & changed his password on him (he owes me money & I wanted to encourage him to pay me). He ended up filing a police report in Massachusetts (I live in IL; he also recently moved back to IL) but they said they wouldn’t pursue the matter. I was informed by the police officer that he still has the right to press charges on me in IL if it’s against the law. Is logging into someone’s email account illegal (in the state of IL)? Can he have criminal charges pressed against me? Can he file a civil lawsuit against me?

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Attorney answers 2


I'll let a criminal attorney answer that part of it, but he certainly may be able to bring a civil lawsuit against you, depending on what, if any, damages he sustained. If the only damage was an inability to access his email for a short time, I wouldn't think a lawsuit would be justified, although there may be specific facts in his situation that would change this analysis. This doesn't mean what you did was acceptable, quite the contrary.

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So what if someone was posting pictures on facebook of someones minor children without parents permission. and the parents repeatedly asked for them to be removed and they wouldn't. so the parent changed the password to the persons email account and logged into their facebook and deleted the photos themselves. no harm done just deleted photos and logged off. what could happen?


I would not consider a lawsuit would be justified. I agree with attorney Swanson.

Good luck to you.

God bless.

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