DOJ: We donít need warrants for e-mail, Facebook chats
2013-05-09 0:00

By Declan McCullagh | CNet

The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI believe they donít need a search warrant to review Americansí e-mails, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and other private files, internal documents reveal.

Government documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and provided to CNET show a split over electronic privacy rights within the Obama administration, with Justice Department prosecutors and investigators privately insisting theyíre not legally required to obtain search warrants for e-mail. The IRS, on the other hand, publicly said last month that it would abandon a controversial policy that claimed it could get warrantless access to e-mail correspondence.

The U.S. attorney for Manhattan circulated internal instructions, for instance, saying a subpoena -- a piece of paper signed by a prosecutor, not a judge -- is sufficient to obtain nearly "all records from an ISP." And the U.S. attorney in Houston recently obtained the "contents of stored communications" from an unnamed Internet service provider without securing a warrant signed by a judge first.

"We really canít have this patchwork system anymore, where agencies get to decide on an ad hoc basis how privacy-protective theyíre going to be," says Nathan Wessler, an ACLU staff attorney specializing in privacy topics who obtained the documents through open government laws. "Courts and Congress need to step in."

The Justice Departmentís disinclination to seek warrants for private files stored on the servers of companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft continued even after a federal appeals court in 2010 ruled that warrantless access to e-mail violates the Fourth Amendment. A previously unreleased version of an FBI manual (PDF), last updated two-and-a-half years after the appellate ruling, says field agents "may subpoena" e-mail records from companies "without running afoul of" the Fourth Amendment.

[...]

Read the full article at: cnet.com




Related Articles
Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government?
Regret Facebook? Hereís an escape route.
CIA admits full monitoring of Facebook and other social networks
Israeli airport security given green light to search tourist emails
The FBI Has Program That Scans Emails For 3,000 Suspicious Phrases
Email and web use íto be monitoredí under new laws in the UK


Latest News from our Front Page

Europe 2020
2015-05-27 4:13
YouTube Description: Europe is changing and not for the better. We can change this if we act now. Source: The European Guardian
Rome's Arch of Titus Now Represents a Jewish Triumph
2015-05-27 2:48
Though not on a par with the universally recognizable Colosseum, the Arch of Titus remains one of the most iconic relics from Rome's ancient imperial glory days. The grand arch is located just south-east of the Roman Forum (main center of ancient Rome). It was opened in 82 AD by the Roman Emperor Domitian, shortly after the death of ...
IQ, Psy Ops and the "Civilization" of the Scam
2015-05-27 2:27
Cognitive dissonance is the firewall that exists in most minds when confronted with a challenge to their basic beliefs about the world. As it is human nature to avoid admitting being in error or having been duped, for most humans the ego zealously flees the admission to oneself of significant error.Challenges to our worldviews or paradigms of belief are also ...
"Europe Could be Overrun with White South Africans"
2015-05-26 23:05
Edited by Red Ice Dear Madam Merkel: We want our brothers and sisters to come home! Hundreds of thousands of sub-Saharan Africans are pouring into Europe, stressing the economy and social services, causing insane rates of crime and threatening to crush society in its entirety. Arab Moslems also continue to pour in under the guise of "asylum‚ÄĚ and are continuing to threaten ...
Increasing Cosmic Rays
2015-05-26 23:35
Driving Force in Climate Changes, Volcanos and Earthquakes Back in 1996 Danish physicists suggested that cosmic rays, energetic particles from space, are important in the formation of clouds. Since then, experiments in Copenhagen and elsewhere have demonstrated that cosmic rays actually help small clusters of molecules to form. By firing a particle beam into a cloud chamber, physicists in Denmark and ...
More News »