Feds Need A Warrant To Search Email

from the well-that's-nice dept

Remember just last week we were looking at a court case that was trying to work out whether social networking messages were more private than email? Well, now a federal appeals court has strengthened the privacy of good old email as well. It turns out that federal investigators need to obtain a warrant before they can go snooping through your email. Many people probably assumed that was already the case, but the Justice Department felt differently about the matter — and now have had both a lower court and an appeals court disagree. Of course, there will likely be another appeal, so this may end up in front of the Supreme Court eventually. However, in the meantime, it looks like at least some courts are recognizing that email users should have an expectation of privacy when it comes to their communications.

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Comments on “Feds Need A Warrant To Search Email”

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Overcast says:

Actually, I assumed they monitored every bit of it.

I think the NSA has invested too much in data centers, like those within AT&T’s campus to just ‘stop’ reading emails…

Of course, it may not be admissible in court until they get a warrant, but it’s not like they are going to stop.

Rights? Who needs those anyway, huh?

Anonymous Coward says:


“Who are you kiding, they won’t go to jail for that, they just won’t be able to use it as evidence.”

NSA getting a direct tap off SF Internet for their Narus box is a violation of FISA. Every US Congressmans emails is included in that tap. Someone will go down for it.

Gonzales is not liked by his own party, so he’s prime candidate for the fall guy/Oliver North/Lynndie England role.

Rwolf says:

So government without a warrant need only allege they relied on SCA in good faith to seize and use a Citizens’ email as (evidence) against them in court.

The Obama government wants the FBI to conduct warrant-less searches of all Internet Activity. Police too easily can take an innocent person?s hastily written email, fax or phone call out of context to allege a crime or violation was committed to cause an arrest or civil asset forfeiture. There are more than 200 laws and violations that can subject property to government asset forfeiture. Information the FBI derives from e.g. no warrant spying on email communications can be used in court and/or lead to subpoenas to collect evidence against Americans to prosecute any crime, circumventing the Forth Amendment.

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