SC Supreme Court: Inbox emails may not be private - FOX Carolina 21

SC Supreme Court: Inbox emails may not be private

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The seal of the South Carolina Supreme Court is seen on a wall in the court's chambers. (File/FOX Carolina) The seal of the South Carolina Supreme Court is seen on a wall in the court's chambers. (File/FOX Carolina)
COLUMBIA, SC (AP/FOX Carolina) -

The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled a man's privacy was not violated when his wife's daughter-in-law managed to get into his email and find out the name of his lover.

The justices unanimously ruled Wednesday that since the emails were still in the husband's inbox, the daughter-in-law did not violate a 1986 federal law about email storage.

The case started when M. Lee Jennings' wife found a card and flowers for another woman in his car. He admitted he was in love with the other woman, but would not give her name.

The wife turned to Holly Broome, who was the wife of her son from a previous marriage. Broome once worked for Jennings and was able to guess the answer to his security question and access his email.

Some computer users at the Coffee Underground in downtown Greenville said they were shocked by the court's opinion.

"Obviously the privacy of having my own email is not going to be enough," Ferah Mohammed said as she clicked through a website. "If that ruling stands, I feel like a lot of people are going to feel insecure about what they do on their email."

FOX Carolina also talked to Grant Varner, a Greenville attorney. He didn't represent anyone in the case, but said the lawsuit was filed under the Stored Communications Act.

"An email received that is not deleted or permanently stored somewhere for the purpose of a backup is exactly the same as letter that has come in the U.S. mail and left on the kitchen counter for the world to read," Varner said.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press/FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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