How to Protect Your Electronic Privacy
The Internet is inherently susceptible to surveillance by private individuals who are willing to put forth the expense and effort to do so. However, it is possible to place hurdles in the way of individuals without the technical knowledge to hack into your computer. Such steps include installation of firewall software, password protection, and encryption software. Firewalls help prevent unwanted access and unsolicited scans coming form the Internet. Password protection is available on all email programs. Encryption software is an effective method of sending and storing electronic messages in a format that is illegible to someone without “decrypting” software. Should you discover that you have been the victim of an ECPA violation, you have legal recourse. You may file a lawsuit for injunctive relief (i.e. to stop the intrusion), actual damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. You are required to file such a lawsuit within two years after the date upon which you had a reasonable opportunity to discover the violation of the ECPA. The other legal actions available to you are criminal charges and a civil lawsuit for invasion of privacy under North Carolina law.