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The Courts Communications Electronic Frontier Foundation Privacy

Fourth Amendment Protects Hosted E-mail 236

Posted by kdawson
from the decade-overdue dept.
Okian Warrior writes "As reported on the EFF website, today the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the contents of the messages in an email inbox hosted on a provider's servers are protected by the Fourth Amendment, even though the messages are accessible to an email provider. As the court puts it, 'The government may not compel a commercial ISP to turn over the contents of a subscriber's emails without first obtaining a warrant based on probable cause.'"
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Fourth Amendment Protects Hosted E-mail

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  • by Entropius (188861) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @07:53PM (#34554612)

    They can't legally compel them, but they can "request convincingly", I imagine. Does this mean that if the police ask my ISP for my email and my ISP hands the records over without a warrant, any evidence gotten that way is inadmissible? Does it mean I can sue my ISP?

    In a physical search, anyone living in a house can consent to a search of the property. Can Comcast voluntarily consent to a search of their customers' email?

  • by spinkham (56603) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @08:04PM (#34554760)

    Not a lawyer, I don't even play one one TV.

    Yes, this means that evidence obtained in this manner in the future would be inadmissible in court. According to the brief, they decided in this case since the law had not yet been deemed unconstitutional and the officers acted in good faith, the evidence was still admissible for this particular case.

    Whether or not you can sue your ISP is a civil matter, pertaining to contract law, and this ruling should not apply.

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