Apr 272010
 
 April 27, 2010  Court, Online, Surveillance

David A. Couillard comments:

In mid-April, a coalition of privacy groups filed a brief in federal district court in Colorado, defending Yahoo against attempts by the federal government to obtain the contents of Yahoo Mail messages without first obtaining a warrant. One month earlier, the Justice Department filed a 17-page brief arguing that Yahoo Mail messages do not fall under current statutory protection because, once opened, those messages are not considered to be in “electronic storage.”

The privacy coalition—which included Google—came to Yahoo’s defense, arguing that users with e-mail stored in the cloud have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of that e-mail, and should thus be protected from warrantless searches by the government. (Hopefully the irony of Google opposing robust searches is not lost on Google’s attorneys.)

Unfortunately, the protections afforded by the warrant requirement have not yet been fully extended to the digital “cloud.” This handy metaphor for the ethereal Internet as a storage and access hub is coming to have other implications: can we really conceal our data inside this cloud, shielding it from government intrusion?

Read more of the commentary and analysis Ars Technica.

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