Thursday, December 21, 2006

e-mail is not private (yet)

The US Appeals court is expected to rule soon on whether e-mail should be considered private. Unlike USPS mail or telephone conversations, there are no laws protecting the privacy of e-mails. Federal prosecutors assert the right to read to any e-mail that is a public server. This includes, for example, any mail in a google, hotmail or AOL account. Prosecutors used this to gain evidence to charge Steven Warshak, an Ohio spam-merchant, with mail fraud and money laundering. A US district judge sided with Warshak that e-mail should be private but the US appealing.

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