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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70526
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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A friend of mine believes his fiancée is cheating on him. So

Resolved Question:

A friend of mine believes his fiancée is cheating on him.

So he wants to read the text messages on her mobile to find out.

He.has asked me to borrow his fiance's mobile on the pretence that my phone can't get a signal, so I can then also adjust the settings (he'll provide instructions as to how). Then he'll be able to so something - don't ask mw what - which will somehow enable him to illicitly read her text messages without her knowing.

Morally I'm against this idea. But am I breaking the law if I go along with it?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

Is he essentially asking you to hack into her phone?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Depends what you mean by hack.


 


I'll need to go to tools/settings/ etc and adjust with the configuration of the device.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo


 


The system said this query is now "open to all experts".


 


Just to let you know I'm happy to work with you on this unless it's not your bag.


 


David

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Yes, I'm here. It just dropped off my list when you responded again.

Do you know if her phone has a password ***** if so, do you have it?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I don't have her password. She'd give it to me and trust me to use it to make a call, as per my reason for wanting to use her phone. I wouldn't naturally say the actual reason: to adjust her mobile so her boyfriend can access her messages. (Though this is morally repugnant, I'd like to know the legal situation.)

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

It depends whether her phone is password ***** If it is not then he could gain access but it would probably amount to some form of computer misuse act offence as he is intending to make the device perform an action that is prohibited. It depends really whether the text messages of a mobile phone can be considered to amount to a computer. Some phone capacity is a computer.

If it is password ***** and he does not know the password ***** he would have to hack in which is an offence.

Even if he does know the password, its likely to be a computer misuse act offence.

In relation to you, obviously you would not perform these acts yourself. In legal theory its possible to argue that its a joint participation offence but they wouldn't rely on that. If anything they would charge you with assisting him.

Of course, its very unlikely that either of you would face charges. This is just a legal theory in academic law rather than a practical reality.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So for clarity's sake:


 


If she does not reveal the password ***** me (ie she inputs it herself) before letting me use her phone, during which time I access the settings to make subsequent accessing messages (somehow) possible, then that presumably is hacking. Or not?


 


On the other hand... If she reveals her password, and that is used to access her phone, then that is not computer hacking and is not deemed as an offence (unless she sues under an obscure arguable point in law.)



Now what about legislation that companies have to comply with in relation to data protection. There I believe an employer can't monitor private communications unless the employee has given explicit permission. Would this apply people? I.e you can't access data on another's phone unless they give permission?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Even if she puts it in it would probably relock so the password ***** have to be negotiated again at some point.

Its hacking if he gets in without knowing the password.

Computer misuse if he does use the password.
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