Thu, Jan 04, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Accessing e-mails at former workplace illegal, office says

By Tsai Chang-sheng and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Accessing e-mail accounts of a former workplace is a criminal offense under Article 358 of the Criminal Code, and is punishable with a three-year prison sentence, or short-term detention along with a NT$100,000 fine, the Hsinchu District Prosecutors’ Office said on Tuesday.

A woman surnamed Wu (吳), who used to work at a company in the Hsinchu Science Park, has been charged with contravening the Criminal Code for hacking into computer systems without cause.

Wu, who on June 30 last year left the company in Hsinchu for a job in New Taipei City, logged into her former company’s e-mail server the following month from a computer at her new workplace to send an e-mail to a former colleague, prosecutors said.

Her former manager filed a lawsuit after the e-mail was discovered, they said.

Wu denied committing any offense, saying that as e-mails from personal accounts could be blocked or filtered she had to use the company’s e-mail account to reach her former colleague.

Prosecutors rejected her statement.

The article defines the act of hacking into computer-related software depending on whether the “person conducting the action has the authority to use said computer or related equipment” and not “to whom said computer or related equipment belongs,” the office said.

Wu’s actions constituted a behavioral offense, which means that the act of entering the credentials of others on their workstations without cause, even if it led to no harm, is considered a breach of the Criminal Code, the office said.

Wu’s access to e-mail services provided by her former employer were terminated the moment she left her job, it said.

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