May 102014
 May 10, 2014  Posted by  Court, Featured News, Surveillance, U.S.

Julia Love reports:

A Bay Area federal judge refused to let the government search a Google email account Friday and chided the Mountain View company for not living up to its pledge to push back against sweeping requests for user data.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal of the Northern District of California denied federal prosecutors’ application for a warrant for the Gmail account, finding the request overbroad and perhaps unconstitutional. The San Jose judge agreed in a six-page order that there was probable cause that the Gmail account contained evidence of theft of government funds. But he found the government had put few limits on its request, not even narrowing down a time frame for the search. “The court is … unpersuaded that the particular seize first, search second proposed here is reasonable in the Fourth Amendment sense of the word,” he wrote.

Read more on The Recorder.  

This is the same government request that was denied by U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola in D.C., and Grewal noted that it appeared the government was just court-shopping to get a better result.  But it was his slap on the wrist to Google that is likely to be somewhat embarrassing for the firm:

“While Google has publicly declared that it challenges overbroad warrants, in three-plus years on the bench in the federal courthouse serving its headquarters, the undersigned has yet to see any such motion,” he wrote.

Update: As I kept reading online, I found this great post by Scott Greenfield.

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