Concerned your partner might be a love cheat? Worried that his or her flirty nature may be giving some people the wrong idea? Perhaps you’ve decided it’s time to find out how loyal, or otherwise, your partner really is?
Men and women have pondered these questions for centuries but in our modern age our smartphones can hold the key to reassuring us nothing is going on – or confirming our worst fears.
Suspicion of infidelity is probably the most common reason why people might choose to snoop on their partner’s cell phone usage.
But hacking a phone is illegal and never acceptable under any circumstances. Whatever your suspicions may be you must never obtain your partner’s PIN without their permission and use it to access their phone.
Hacking a phone is a Federal offence in the US and is also illegal in many other countries including the UK, but nearly three-quarters (71%) of those surveyed admitted to using their partner’s phone without them knowing, with 51% admitting they had checked their partner’s messages.
Why would you want to take a peek at what they’re doing behind your back? Perhaps you have noticed your partner being distant recently, and want to check they aren’t speaking to someone else.
Maybe you aren’t impressed knowing your other half has a flirtatious tendency and want to keep an eye on what they’re up to. Or maybe you’re just being nosy… whatever the reason it’s a good idea to ask yourself why you want to take a snoop, and is it really beneficial to the relationship if you want to spy on them?
Are Partner’s Allowed To Look at their Spouse’s Phone?
Millions do snoop though without realising that they could be breaking the law. In the US, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act prohibits certain types of electronic eavesdropping while in the UK the Computer Misuse Act covers cyber offences when someone is using a computer or other digital technology including mobile phones.
The laws hinge on consent and with more than half of people admitting to checking their partner’s messages without permission, millions could be breaking the law.
If your spouse has routinely given you his or her login details to their phone, email or social media accounts and allowed you to use them then a court may take the view they have authorised you to find what you will.
But implied consent is a complex area and you might still be considered to be in violation of the law.
And the research shows less than half of the respondents (49%) have shared their passcodes with their partners with 8% being aware their partners know their passcodes despite having never shared them.
Anyone convicted of violating state or federal laws by spying on their spouse could face serious penalties, such as court injunctions, steep fines, or even jail time.
In the most serious cases, unauthorised use of electronic communications is a federal felony which could land you with a five-year jail term and a $250,000 fine.
What Does the Research Say?
But the research suggests the majority of people are taking these consequences lightly with over half (55%) admitting to using their partner’s phone to check their emails.
And the privacy invasion didn’t stop there, with 52% also checking their partner’s social media and 51% looking at their partner’s images.
Men are more likely to check their partners’ phones on a regular basis with 31% admitting to checking their phone often compared to just 15% of female respondents.
With more than 60 million married couples in the U.S. in 2022 the potential scale of law-breaking is huge.
5% of respondents felt uncomfortable or very uncomfortable with the idea of their partner looking at their phone.
That is over 3 million married people who are not happy with their spouse looking at their phone, but the research suggests that the vast majority do.
And when relationships turn sour, consent that may have been considered to have previously been given shouldn’t be taken for granted no matter how much jealousy is driving you to find the answers your heart so desperately wants to know.