It's all about proportionality, he says. Online information is at risk, but "if you really worry about who can run up your tailpipe, before you know it you're wearing a tinfoil hat on your head."
But that's what cheating spouses do. They worry.
The disposable cellphone is a new favorite mode of assuaging all that fretting and concealing all that bad behavior. See a man talking on one of those, and you might be seeing a "big sign of a cheating spouse," says Jim Casteel, a private investigator in Birmingham, Ala., who has been chasing philandering spouses for more than two decades.
But the computer is the bigger tipoff, says Casteel; it's the focal point of deception and the vector for discovery. Frequently, the men and women he chases set up dummy e-mail accounts under phony names, thinking they'll avoid detection. But few can carry on without raising suspicions, and a suspicious spouse can turn into a resourceful one, he says. It's common now, he says, for wary spouses to install spyware on their computers to surreptitiously track every keystroke and glimpse each Web site that gets visited.
"For every action, they've got a counteraction," says Casteel.
Worst-case scenario for those spyware-installing spouses? That would be AshleyMadison.com, a website whose motto is "Life is short. Have an affair."
The site, which claims to get 1.8 million visitors per month, is a kind of electronic labyrinth of its own, designed, operated and maintained to keep cheating spouses safely inside and cuckolded spouses safely out. Servers are kept outside the United States for extra protection should, say, an FBI agent or divorce lawyer come knocking. "He could have used our site and called himself, 'Head of the CIA Guy,' and do whatever he needed to do to focus on being the top spy, and it would never have revealed his true name," says Noel Biderman, who runs the site.