The affair between General David Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell has many of us rethinking sending emails or text messages. Experts say most people have the wrong idea about their rights online.
“I think people get on their computers and they feel that expectation of privacy, even though it doesn’t truly in the real world exist anymore,” said cyber security expert, Jeff Ahlerich.
Ahlerich has conducted many computer forensic investigations and said just deleting an email doesn’t hide much when someone goes digging.
“Typically not,” he said. “Not unless the servers where the emails reside or the computer where it resides or is stored is completely scrubbed.”
And if you think your employers can’t get involved, think again.
“It’s amazing the kinds of things that people do on their work computers,” Ahlerich said. “Typically the employers set it up so that there really is no expectation of privacy on the work computer.”
And in the case of extramarital affairs, online communication can come back to haunt you. Just ask divorce attorney, Grady Reiff.
“It can create a paper trail, because if you're doing things you shouldn't be or talking about things you shouldn't be you now have given the other side ammunition. They're going to pull that off and use it against you,” Reiff said.
So if you’re up to no good in real life, Ahlerich has some advice.
“Don’t put anything in an email that you wouldn’t send to your mother.”
When it comes to online threats like those allegedly sent by Paula Broadwell, federal investigators can get involved.