Risk

6/11/2009
07:46 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

U.S. Court Weighs E-mail Privacy, Again

At issue: whether e-mail messages deserve the same privacy protection as telephone calls.

In a replay of a court decision from two years ago, civil liberties groups are once again trying to persuade the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that e-mail messages deserve the same privacy protection as telephone calls.

On Wednesday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the ACLU of Ohio, and the Center for Democracy and Technology filed an amicus brief in Warshak v. USA in support of appellant Steven Warshak.

Warshak argues that a court order secretly directing his ISP to preserve his e-mail violates federal privacy laws and his expectation of privacy.

The government's interest in Warshak follows from its 2005 investigation of allegations of mail and wire fraud, money laundering, and other federal offenses arising from the operations of Steven Warshak's company Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, a maker of herbal pills for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

In May 2005, the government obtained an order from an Ohio judge directing Internet service provider NuVox Communications to turn over electronic messages belonging to Warshak and his associates. In September of that year, the government used a similar order to obtain Warshak's e-mail from Yahoo.

In November 2006, the EFF, the ACLU of Ohio, and the CDT filed a similar amicus brief in support of Warshak, arguing that e-mail deserves the same legal protection as telephone calls. In June 2007, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Warshak's favor. But that decision was vacated on procedural grounds. And now the case is back before the court.

In a statement, EFF senior staff attorney Kevin Bankston says that the Justice Department conducted what amounts to a "back-door wiretap" when it intercepted six months of Warshak's e-mail without a warrant. "Thankfully, this abuse has given the appeals court yet another opportunity to clarify that the Fourth Amendment protects the privacy of e-mail against secret government snooping, even when it's in the hands of an e-mail provider," he said.


InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis on what executives really think about security. Download the report here (registration required).

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
'Hidden Tunnels' Help Hackers Launch Financial Services Attacks
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/20/2018
Tesla Employee Steals, Sabotages Company Data
Jai Vijayan, Freelance writer,  6/19/2018
Inside a SamSam Ransomware Attack
Ajit Sancheti, CEO and Co-Founder, Preempt,  6/20/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-7682
PUBLISHED: 2018-06-22
Micro Focus Solutions Business Manager versions prior to 11.4 allows a user to invoke SBM RESTful services across domains.
CVE-2018-12689
PUBLISHED: 2018-06-22
phpLDAPadmin 1.2.2 allows LDAP injection via a crafted server_id parameter in a cmd.php?cmd=login_form request, or a crafted username and password in the login panel.
CVE-2018-12538
PUBLISHED: 2018-06-22
In Eclipse Jetty versions 9.4.0 through 9.4.8, when using the optional Jetty provided FileSessionDataStore for persistent storage of HttpSession details, it is possible for a malicious user to access/hijack other HttpSessions and even delete unmatched HttpSessions present in the FileSystem's storage...
CVE-2018-12684
PUBLISHED: 2018-06-22
Out-of-bounds Read in the send_ssi_file function in civetweb.c in CivetWeb through 1.10 allows attackers to cause a Denial of Service or Information Disclosure via a crafted SSI file.
CVE-2018-12687
PUBLISHED: 2018-06-22
tinyexr 0.9.5 has an assertion failure in DecodePixelData in tinyexr.h.