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View Diary: No warrant required for private communications? (42 comments)

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  •  problem is more SCA (1+ / 0-)
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    Paper Cup

    see United States v. Warshak, 2010.

    under the provisions of the Stored Communications Act, federal law allows the government to just bypass any quaint, pre-911 "reasonable expectation of privacy," such as a person's email (postal mail, telephone calls).  however, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled No, You May Not to that two years ago:

    Given the fundamental similarities between email and traditional forms of communication [like postal mail and telephone calls], it would defy common sense to afford emails lesser Fourth Amendment protection....

    [T]he police may not storm the post office and intercept a letter, and they are likewise forbidden from using the phone system to make a clandestine recording of a telephone call--unless they get a warrant, that is. It only stands to reason that, if government agents compel an ISP to surrender the contents of a subscriber's emails, those agents have thereby conducted a Fourth Amendment search, which necessitates compliance with the warrant requirement....

    for reference, SCA

    School district accused of spying on kids via laptop webcams.  here's a redacted PDF geek version, white paper of Lower Merion School District but the Sixth Circuit's ruling held:

    found that email users have a Fourth Amendment-protected reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of their email accounts and that "to the extent that the SCA purports to permit the government to obtain such emails warrantlessly, the SCA is unconstitutional.
    Senator Leahy? no, sir.  no way.

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