On a website forum, I sent a private email to two users. The webmaster and owner of the website read the email and then used that content to ban me from his website.

The content of the email was perfectly legal, it was merely criticising some issues that were taking place on the forums.

I am incensed at the fact that he read it and then took action upon its content, so much so that I am considering legal action.

Any help or advice would be appreciated, please note this is UK/EU law.

Best Regards G.G.

  • What do their Terms of Service say?
    – pritaeas
    Feb 13, 2013 at 12:28

1 Answer 1


Yes, it is legal.

If the forum site user agreement and/or privacy policy makes no mention that your private messages will not be read, it's safe to assume they can be. Typically forum moderators do not have access of forum members' private messages, but forum software is usually designed to allow administrators the ability to read private messages.

A forum administrator may read private forum messages to investigate claims of harassment or abuse, for example. Largely is it the prerogative of the web site owner to manage the web site as they wish, just as any business has the right to refuse service. It comes down to what the user agreement and/or privacy policy states.

Please note that I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. I was a forum administrator for over a decade.

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