PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CN) – A police officer’s wife of one year installed spyware on their computer, used it to track his online activity and then handed the “protected information” to his department, which now wants to fire him, the officer claims in court.
Daniel Williams says Leah Stoddard, to whom he was married from 2009 to 2010, installed the spyware on a laptop containing his “confidential and private” information, including logon data, passwords, emails and usage history.
She used the spyware to monitor and record his online activity without his knowledge or permission, he claims in Rhode Island Superior Court.
In October 2010, she allegedly took the information to the North Providence Police Department, where Williams worked. The department investigated and filed an internal affairs complaint against Williams based on his wife’s snooping, Williams says.
“The complaint includes charges for conduct unbecoming an officer, incompetence, violation of user rules of behavior, insubordination, and conducting personal business while on duty,” the lawsuit states.
The department suspended Williams and tried to fire him, the lawsuit claims, but he demanded a hearing.
He says the department plans to use the “unlawfully obtained” data and evidence gleaned from it against him at the hearing. He seeks an order barring the department from relying on this evidence, “including but not limited to witness statements and testimony.”
Williams also wants Stoddard, Police Chief Paul Martinelli and the North Providence Police Department to pay actual and punitive damages for alleged computer trespass, interception of electronic communications, access to stored communications, invasion of privacy and intentional access to computer data.
His attorney is Stephen Brouillard of Bianchi & Brouillard in Providence.
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