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December 9, 2009

The Downsides of Making Technology Accessible [10:24 am]

“Who cares how it works?” Well, we all should: Text Messages - Digital Lipstick on the Collar (pdf)

Lawyers expect the number of cases to grow as younger cellphone users, who are more likely to text than talk, marry. Text messages now outnumber mobile voice calls three to one, according to the Nielsen Company. Monthly messages sent or received jumped to 584 a person in the quarter ending in September, a 60 percent increase from a year earlier.

At the root of the issue is privacy — or rather the increasing lack of it in our show-and-tell digital culture. Text messages are considered private, much as telephone calls are, legal experts say. But if a cheating spouse’s cellphone is part of a family calling plan or regularly left unlocked and unattended on the dinner table or night stand, it is conceivable that a partner who suspects infidelity could make a case for sifting through the in-box.

“People who have something really private to say probably shouldn’t do it in a text on their cellphone,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a public interest research group based in Washington.

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