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11/15/2007
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Jilted Lover Jailed for Internet Monitoring

The long arm of Texas law is cracking down on Internet, email spying

Jealous husbands, beware: If you've ever entertained the idea of spying on your wife's Internet activity and email, think about Shawn Macleod, who recently learned he'd be spending four years in the slammer for secretly installing Internet monitoring software on his estranged wife's computer.

Macleod, of Austin, Texas, reportedly used a tool called SpyRecon to gather logs of the sites she had surfed and emails she had sent, and was charged with wiretapping, or "unlawful interception of electronic communication," a felony that can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. His attorney says his client, who pleaded guilty in May, probably didn't know that his actions were unlawful.

Texas law states that it's illegal to intentionally intercept verbal or electronic communications, with a few exceptions such as switchboard operators and parents of minor children. (Employees typically sign waivers about their company's computer monitoring practices.)

Law enforcement investigators said the problem lies in how the software is used, not in the software itself. Another Texan, Alexis Lugo, was also recently charged with installing similar software -- called eBlaster -- on his ex-girlfriend's computer.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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