Feeds

Google and friends back bid to block warrantless email search

Reinforcements for Yahoo!

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

A coalition of civil liberties groups has joined Yahoo! in its bid to block a government attempt to read messages in a Yahoo! email account without a search warrant.

The Department of Justice is seeking the documents in a case that is under seal, and apparently, the agency hasn't notified the account holder of the request, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of the groups opposing the move. The groups argue that federal law and the Constitution's Fourth Amendment clearly require the government to get a search warrant that's based on probable cause a crime has been committed.

Government attorneys, meanwhile, have said a warrant isn't needed because the emails have already been read. They've also claimed that the unidentified user has no expectation that his emails are private because Yahoo has the technical ability to access them.

"The mere fact that a service provider has the ability to access email messages does not defeat the user's expectation of privacy in their contents, just as the fact that telephone wires lead outside the home does not extinguish the Fourth Amendment rights of those talking over the telephone lines, and just as the fact that one has a roommate or is renting a room does not defeat Fourth Amendment protection in one's home or hotel room," the groups wrote in a friend-of-the-court brief (PDF) filed on Tuesday.

According to the brief, the government claims that under the Stored Communications Act, the emails don't count as "electronic storage" and therefore receive less privacy protection than do unread messages. Yahoo! is fighting the search request.

In addition to the EFF, other groups that filed Tuesday's brief include Google, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and the Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw
Energy summit bods warned of free energy bonanza
DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned
SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins knew it needed patching
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android
As if the civilians who never change access point passwords will ever opt out of this one
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?