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Emails not protected by 4th Amendment  

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trewmte
(@trewmte)
Community Legend

I have been reading these threads that seem to suggest emails stored outside of the computer and the home do not carry the same legal protection mechanisms.

http//legalblogwatch.typepad.com/legal_blog_watch/2009/10/e-mail-not-protected-by-4th-amendment-judge-says.html

http//ecsinvestigations.com/?s=4th

Some other comments have suggested it may be the end of cloud computing.

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International Conference for Communications Interception

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Posted : 30/10/2009 3:01 pm
seanmcl
(@seanmcl)
Senior Member

I have been reading these threads that seem to suggest emails stored outside of the computer and the home do not carry the same legal protection mechanisms.

Not really surprising. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act specifically excludes e-mails stored on an ISP's server from access via civil (not criminal) subpoena. One would assume that such an exemption would not be explicitly recognized unless there was no reasonable expectation of privacy.

As for third-party hosted cloud computing, I have stated before that I think that it represents the greatest threat to privacy I could imagine. While the ECPA might afford data stored and managed by a cloud less available via civil subpoena, it would certainly make it easier for LE or the government to access such data, in some cases without a subpoena.

Why any responsible business would be interested in doing this is beyond me.

On the other hand, consider what privacy risks already exist via outsourcing. Citibank's call center was, and may still be, hosted in India which still has less stringent data privacy protections than most of Europe and the US. Major US companies have outsourced their customer support to companies in the Philippines. In one investigation in which we were involved, we found public IPs belonging to such a customer support agency (probably a firewall), were recorded on blogs where information regarding their clients was also found, some of which could be considered proprietary.

I'm not sure what "reasonable expectation of privacy" is in the age of outsourcing, Twitter, etc.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 30/10/2009 3:46 pm
Jonathan
(@jonathan)
Senior Member

The 4th amendment to what?

In the UK what is considered lawful interception of emails is pretty wide reaching as defined in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act of 2000. Wonder if the next Government will roll back the state's power in this area?

ReplyQuote
Posted : 30/10/2009 4:36 pm
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