Feeds

Court revives high-profile wiretap prosecution

Service provider snooping loophole ties lawyers in knots

The essential guide to IT transformation

A US federal appeals court has overturned a decision that implied service providers could legally snoop on subscriber's email messages in a ruling that revives a high-profile online eavesdropping prosecution.

Two years ago a judge ruled it permissible for online literary clearinghouse Interloc to make copies of messages sent by subscribers of its free email service to Amazon.com. Interloc hoped to gain a commercial advantage by seeing what its users were ordering. Because these messages went through Interloc's servers a judge decided wiretap laws hadn't been violated and dismissed a prosecution against Bradford Councilman, a senior executive at the now defunct firm. The legal argument hinged on whether Interloc "intercepted" these messages. Councilman's lawyers successfully argued that no breach of the act had occurred because the emails were copied while held in storage. The first US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this decision to scratch the case in June 2004, prompting a government appeal. This week that appeal court overturned the initial ruling in a split 5-2 decision. The case is to be sent back to a district court for trial, AP reports.

The Wiretap Act refers to the need to protect the privacy of messages in transit against unwarranted snooping. By majority opinion the appeal court judges ruled that wire tapping prohibitions apply to messages in temporary storage because this stage is integral to the communications process. In a dissenting opinion, Appeals Court Judge Juan Torruella said that that the privacy of subscribers ought to be protected by privacy agreements so that remedies lie in contract rather than wiretap laws. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?