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Feds slurp WikiLeaker's email with secret court order

Message headers prised from Google, ISP

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Information about WikiLeaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum’s emails could already be in the hands of the US government after wonks obtained secret court orders against Google and Sonic.net.

The Wall Street Journal says it has seen documents showing that the two companies failed in their opposition to the court orders. However, the WSJ believes the orders relate only to the people Appelbaum corresponded with, and not the content of the messages.

The orders were obtained under the wryly named Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which has been in place since 1986 and which, the WSJ says, requires only that the government demonstrate reasonable grounds to believe that the requested records are relevant and material to an investigation.

This latest order follows the success of an earlier order, applied for in December and obtained in March, for access to the IP addresses from which Appelbaum and two other WikiLeaks supporters, Birgitta Jónsdóttir and Rop Gonggrijp, accessed their Twitter accounts.

This is part of the US government’s ongoing pursuit of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange.

With the full archive of the cables out in public since September and Assange distracted by his own battles over extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations, WikiLeaks itself seems somewhat in abeyance. Court proceedings are probably the main nourishment remaining for Assange-watchers. ®

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