This may or may not have been discussed in the past, but Id like to have some discussion regarding the reading of PMs as it relates to security purposes. I know any forum owner can easily access this data via the database or by utilizing any one of several hacks that are available from a variety of sources. From what information I have been able to gather, much like an employer/employee relationship, data delivered though a forum's server becomes the property of the forum owner and can therefore be accessed at the owners discretion. How that data is used is where the legalities can become an issue. In my opinion the only valid reason for a forum owner to read member's PMs is strictly for security purposes to protect the forum owner and to protect the members, such as when a member has made physical threats towards another member or is conducting illegal activities such as selling stolen merchandise via PM. Well in the seven year history of my forum, I have unfortunately had both of these happen and has motivated me to open this discussion. I know that a forum's privacy statement should reflect that PMs are not private and upon reading privacy statements from a couple of the big two forum companies, this is covered though it is written in some very cryptic, legalese language. Id like to know if any of you have experienced a situation that would call for screening a persons PMs and what if any action did you take? I do know this is a sensitive issue and many refuse to openly discuss this, but for those who will, what is you take on this?