Thread: E-mail privacy?

  1. #1
    Lead Moderator kermi3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 1998

    E-mail privacy?

    So I was driving the 2 minutes home today from my weekend job (it been/was gonna be rainy and the walk was pure mud...) and good old NPR had a story that made me stop in my driveway.

    Apparently a court ruled that once e-mails are stored on the ISP's server and are no longer "zipping through cyber space" they don't need a search warrent to use them and it sounds to me like they might even been the ISP's property. In other words, the ISP doesn't need a wire tap to read them...and maybe not even a supena.

    So what might this mean....could practice's like GMail's become more common? Is my UPS package the property of UPS until they deliver it? What about the contents of my PO Box? Can some random employee at AOL read half the country's e-mails just for fun?

    This one scares me a bit...

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  2. #2
    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    At my office, we had a policy of not e-mailing anything you wouldn't say in front of everyone else. That's a pretty safe way to do things.

    What court was it that decided this? I'm pretty sure it'll be challenged, and possibly overturned.

  3. #3
    & the hat of GPL slaying Thantos's Avatar
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    Sep 2001
    I know previous court cases have ruled that any email sent by employee's through the company's servers is property of that company.

    As for the warrent, any good ISP will refuse to turn over that information without a warrent. If for no other reason but to keep their arses covered

  4. #4
    and the hat of int overfl Salem's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    The edge of the known universe
    A nice vague report which fails to mention either the court or the jurisdiction.

    Email has the same security as the postcard you send when you're on holiday

    If you really want to keep it secret, use PGP.
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
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  5. #5
    Administrator webmaster's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    A possibly more informative AP article. The decision came from the Massachusetts-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

  6. #6
    5|-|1+|-|34|) ober's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    Quote Originally Posted by Govtcheez
    At my office, we had a policy of not e-mailing anything you wouldn't say in front of everyone else. That's a pretty safe way to do things.
    That's your safest bet. If you're transferring precious material, use a phone or a secure postal service.

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