by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 19th 2008 11:13am
While plenty of folks are talking about the cracking of Sarah Palin's personal email account, the EFF is noting that the Justice Department's own interpretation of email privacy laws may actually make it difficult to prosecute the hacker under the most obvious statute, the Stored Communications Act. You see, since the DOJ would prefer that your email not be considered private, it has interpreted emails that you've opened, but not deleted, as not being subject to the SCA. That's thanks to a somewhat contorted reading of the law that suggests that an opened email is no longer considered either in temporary or intermediate storage -- nor is it considered saved for backup purposes. Those happen to be the two requirements under the law. Thus, if the hacker accessed emails that Palin had already read, the DOJ may have trouble using the SCA, since its own statements (though, thankfully, not the courts) seem to believe that hacking in and reading already read emails is not covered by the law.
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