Feds drop bid for warrantless access to Yahoo! mail
Probable cause showdown averted
The federal government has dropped its controversial bid to read messages in a Yahoo! email account without getting a search warrant.
In a two-page document filed Friday, federal prosecutors in Colorado said the documents "would not be helpful to the government's investigation," the specifics of which have never been disclosed. The withdrawal puts to rest the legal fight over whether the US Constitution requires prosecutors to seek a search warrant before accessing email stored by service providers.
"While this is a great victory for that Yahoo! subscriber, it's disappointing to those of us who wanted a clear ruling on the legality and constitutionality of the government's overreaching demand," wrote Kevin Bankston, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, part of a coalition of groups that opposed the government's action. "Such demands are apparently a routine law enforcement technique."
The retreat precludes the possibility of a court precedent requiring a search warrant, he added.
It comes after the EFF, Google and other groups filed a friend-of-the-court brief that backed Yahoo in opposing the search. They said that both the Fourth Amendment and the Stored Communications Act clearly required the government to seek a warrant based on probable cause a crime had been committed
The government had argued no warrant was necessary as long as the emails were relevant to an ongoing investigation. A PDF of the government's brief is here. ®
Hang on a damn minute...
Federal prosecutors in Colorado said the documents "would not be helpful to the government's investigation,"
Then why the hell did they try in the first place? Either they would be helpful to the investigation or they wouldnt? If they wouldnt be helpful, then theres no reason to try in the first place is there?
I smell something fishy here...
Is there any possibility of getting the court to sanction the prosecutors for wasting court time?
One party system
"The DOJ knew they would face a nasty fight and likely loose, or win but look like the SS, and end up in front of some congressional committee either way."
Too late, DOJ & Homeland Security already come across like the SS. Well I would say they are more like the Stasi in actuality. And Congress are pussies, the Republicans want large, costly, intrusive gov't for the defense of the country. The Democrats want large, costly, intrusive gov't to make sure people are behaving in the interests of the country as a whole. They pretend they are completely different, splitting hairs over WHY they want a massive intrusive gov't, but the result is that BOTH fully support the erosion of our constitutional rights. This current 2-party system is completely defective, they slow each other down but overall act effectively like a single party.
The FBI has likely gotten into the account, read the mail and decided it doesn't need it for prosecution.