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Dec162010

Appeals Court Ruled ‘Email Privacy Protected by Fourth Amendment’ in U.S. v. Warshak

In the case of Warshak v United States an appeals court has ruled that government entities must first obtain a search warrant before they’re allowed to seize and search your email. The court held that,

“Given the fundamental similarities between email and traditional forms of communication [like postal mail and telephone calls], it would defy common sense to afford emails lesser Fourth Amendment protection…. It follows that email requires strong protection under Fourth Amendment; otherwise Fourth Amendment would prove an ineffective guardian of private communication, an essential purpose it has long been recognized to serve…. [T]he police mayn’t storm the post office and intercept a letter, and they’re likewise forbidden from using the phone system to make a clandestine recording of a telephone call–unless they get a warrant, that is. It only stands to reason that, if government agents compel an ISP to surrender the contents of a subscriber’s emails, those agents have thereby conducted a Fourth Amendment search, which necessitates compliance with the warrant requirement….”

[Source]

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