How Much Digital Privacy Do You Really Have?

Question: I heard this morning that even though texts have been deleted they can still be retrieved. How can I have my lawyer look into this? I am in the middle of a divorce. My husband was involved with another woman. …I found two texts on his phone.

Parry Aftab's Answer: You need to have your lawyer call the cell phone provider and ask that question of it. It differs from provider to provider. He or she should ask how the data can be retained before anything else. If you demand that the cell phone company retain data for longer periods of time, then its normal deletion cycle won't apply.

But people need to recognize something -- in the United States it is less about how long and who cheated and more about the duration of the marriage and equitable rights of property. So proving who did what in an affair is going to be less important to a judge than the duration of the marriage and who contributed to the income and assets of that marriage.

While you need to talk to a matrimonial lawyer to get advice, if it is a long-term marriage, the judge is more likely to split assets down the middle. If it is a short-term marriage, the courts look more to the specifics of who earned what and who contributed what.

Decades ago it was more about who was the bad guy; now it is more of a business decision.

You may want to spend more time healing and finding new ways to build a new life than searching for dirt.

Question: I would love to know how you can get all the phone conversations from the cell phone that my husband made to his girlfriend and she made to him, what was really said. I have all dates and times from the phone bill. He said I cannot get them. I just would love to know for myself and peace of mind. Please help me, and I can finally put it to rest in my mind and heart, thank you.

Parry Aftab's Answer: Unless there is special technology, spyware technology, already implanted in the phone, you won't be able to retrieve actual phone conversations. Those are gone with the wind. Typed text messages can be retrieved depending on your cell phone carrier and how long it keeps them. You have to act quickly and through a knowledgeable legal counselor to demand that the data is retained long enough for legal request to be served.

If you need more help or information go to wiredsafety.org or follow Wired Moms on Twitter.

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