Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Federal government can search "cloudy" communications more than six months old without warranrt

The Washington Post recently has argued that Congress should extend the normal “Fourth Amendment” protections to emails more than 180 days old and stored on servers.  The applicable law is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, with wiki explanation (web url) here

The law considers email more than six months old to be “abandoned” and not “worthy” of needing the protection of normal procedures requiring court-ordered search warrants.  The same concept would appear to apply to tweets, Facebook or blog comments or other correspondence, where it could matter if the blogs or profiles were under privacy-controlled access, follower or friending lists. 

Some mail services, like AOL, leave unread emails available much longer than they used to. I find it rather clumsy to get rid of them!

Do I have old emails that I regret?  Not that much.  This sort of thing could happen in the workplace, though.  I can remember some unpleasntries sent to me in the distant past.  They were rare.  But if they happen, you can have a "roach" problem. 
The link for the Washington Post Jan. 28 editorial is here.

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