Six Lines

Email and the Fourth Amendment

Posted by Aaron Massey on 09 Apr 2011.

The seemingly never-ending saga of email and the fourth amendment continues:

The Obama administration is urging Congress not to adopt legislation that would impose constitutional safeguards on Americans’ e-mail stored in the cloud.

As the law stands now, the authorities may obtain cloud e-mail without a warrant if it is older than 180 days, thanks to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act adopted in 1986. At that time, e-mail left on a third-party server for six months was considered to be abandoned, and thus enjoyed less privacy protection. However, the law demands warrants for the authorities to seize e-mail from a person’s hard drive.

If you’re interested in the DoJ’s argument, has James Baker’s testimony (PDF). It’s only 12 pages, and it’s quick reading.