If you think that
Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) or email password of yours is safe in the hands of your friends, families, significant others, hermit crabs, etc. -- a recent poll on Internet Evolution suggests you may be naive.
In response to the question, "Have you ever logged into someone's email or social networking account without his or her knowledge?" here's what our sneaky readers said:
Sure. By a slim margin, the majority of nearly 300 readers who weighed in vow to never have committed such an act. But that still leaves a whopping 42 percent who readily admit to it -- and this is coming from an educated tech-readership, not a band of merry thieves (or so we thought...).
Well, so what. Maybe you just needed to see who your significant other was poking on Facebook. Or maybe you were just plain curious and bored with your own digital life. Besides, it's not like anything on the Internet is private anyway.
It seems clear that it's ethically wrong to sign into someone's account without permission (I'm certain our Internet Ethicist would concur) -- whether that person haphazardly left the password lying around on a Post-It, or entrusted it to you for some ungodly reason. But our poll suggests that, when it comes to matters of the Internet, sometimes ethics go out the window in favor of acts of ease that appear harmless.
But, you tell us: Is logging into someone else's account without permission always ethically wrong, or does it depend on the circumstance?
Regardless of your answer, you may want to consider changing that password.
— Nicole Ferraro, Site Editor, Internet Evolution