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
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
20 Questions to Ask Yourself before Giving a Security Conference Talk
Joshua Goldfarb, Co-founder & Chief Product Officer, IDDRA,  10/16/2017
Printers: The Weak Link in Enterprise Security
Kelly Sheridan, Associate Editor, Dark Reading,  10/16/2017
Hyatt Hit With Another Credit Card Breach
Dark Reading Staff 10/13/2017
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Security Vulnerabilities: The Next Wave
Just when you thought it was safe, researchers have unveiled a new round of IT security flaws. Is your enterprise ready?
Flash Poll
The State of Ransomware
The State of Ransomware
Ransomware has become one of the most prevalent new cybersecurity threats faced by today's enterprises. This new report from Dark Reading includes feedback from IT and IT security professionals about their organization's ransomware experiences, defense plans, and malware challenges. Find out what they had to say!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.