Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Appeals Court Says Email Privacy Protected by Fourth Amendment

Good news, more or less, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF): "In a landmark decision issued today [Dec. 14, 2010] in the criminal appeal of U.S. v. Warshak, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the government must have a search warrant before it can secretly seize and search emails stored by email service providers. Closely tracking arguments made by EFF in its amicus brief, the court found that email users have the same reasonable expectation of privacy in their stored email as they do in their phone calls and postal mail." Full article at EFF's website... The court's decision, says EFF, "is the only federal appellate decision currently on the books that squarely rules on this critically important privacy issue, an issue made all the more important by the fact that current federal law--in particular, the Stored Communications Act--allows the government to secretly obtain emails without a warrant in many situations." Yes, this is good news, I suppose, but before you pop a bottle of champagne in celebration, keep in mind that the government breaks its own laws frequently and all to often doesn't give a damn about what the Constitution says. Take a look at the quasi-fascist Obamacare, for example, which will require each of us - through the "individual mandate" - to purchase health insurance or pay a fine or, if you don't pay the fine, be imprisoned. Also See: Court Ruling Grants Email the Cloak of Privacy