December 12, 2012

Police can access your email without a warrant if it's 180 days old

Business Insider - When retired four-star general and former CIA Director David Petraeus resigned from his post this month after admitting to an extramarital affair, one of the more startling revelations was that the dalliance was discovered when the FBI sifted through his private Gmail account.

The spy chief had been out-spied.

More alarming is that the average American could easily be subjected to the same snooping that Petraeus endured. According to current law, police can access email through a provider, like Yahoo or Gmail, without a warrant if the message is more than 180 days old.

The rule is a relic of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, written before legislators could dream of the explosion of technology and ubiquity of email, text messaging, online chatting and other communications that leave behind an electronic trail.

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1 comment:

Uncle Goat said...

While there is certainly alarming aspects to this, only a total moron would carry on an affair via email.

It also should be noted that most email is utter garbage: "Did you see the game last night?" and other pointless bits of trivia from our daily lives comprise 99.9% of all email. If the FBI is wasting time sifting through all of that, the only people who need to worry are already in power. Let them feed on each other. Having Patraeus lose his job is a good thing.