Federal law prohibits hacking into e-mail, but without further illegal activity, it's only a misdemeanor, noted Orin Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University and a former trial attorney in the Justice Department's computer crime section.Wow ... a misdemeanor.
The feds usually don't have the resources to investigate and prosecute misdemeanors, Kerr said. And part of the reason is that normally it's hard to know when an account has been compromised, because e-mail snooping doesn't leave a trace.Ethics issues aside (which still need to catch up with reality) lawyers should have their eyes VERY wide open when using these email services. In addition to email being inherently insecure, hacking freemail accounts is now as easy as buying a book on Amazon. As we've noted previously, the higher duty of care lawyers hold demands a higher level of practice.