IRS Says It Will Change Its Policy On Looking At Emails Without A Warrant… At Some Point

from the good-idea,-though-a-bit-late dept

You may recall a couple weeks ago the discovery that the IRS believed that it did not need a warrant to view emails over 180 days old. That got a fair bit of attention, and recently, Senator Wyden asked the IRS about this.

And, almost immediately, the IRS folded, kind of. In response to Wyden’s question about dropping the policy, the IRS’s acting commissioner, Steven Miller, said that he “intends” to drop the policy… though he wouldn’t give a date on when he’d drop the policy. Senator Wyden asks him to commit to a 30 day deadline to drop the policy, and Miller says he’ll try his best and suggests he should be able to drop the policy by then, but does not commit to it. Also, he seems to indicate that the IRS has not used this ability (to the “best of my knowledge”) — and he also says that the IRS has not and cannot seek private info from Twitter and Facebook, but that it will use public info from those services. Of course, it makes you wonder why they had this policy in the first place. And, further, it seems ridiculous that it took until the info became public and seemed embarrassing that they decided to drop it — but, at least, in the end, they’re moving away from the practice, at some point.

Filed Under: ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “IRS Says It Will Change Its Policy On Looking At Emails Without A Warrant… At Some Point”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The 180 day stipulation is reference to the ECPA

For instance, email that is stored on a third party’s server for more than 180 days is considered by the law to be abandoned, and all that is required to obtain the content of the emails by a law enforcement agency, is a written statement certifying that the information is relevant to an investigation, with absolutely no judicial review required whatsoever.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike: On what basis are you claiming that Ora’s claim is wrong? Because it’s not at all clear that a warrant is necessary for the government to require disclosure of emails by a service provider. Certainly one is not always required. Why do you think otherwise? (And note, I’m not asking why you think warrants should be required but rather, why you think the la,w as it currently stands, requires this.)

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...