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US Police Increasingly Peeping At Email, IMs 113

Posted by timothy
from the y'know-just-a-little-peek dept.
angry tapir writes "US law enforcement organizations are making tens of thousands of requests for private electronic information from companies such as Sprint, Facebook and AOL, but few detailed statistics are available, according to a privacy researcher. Police and other agencies have 'enthusiastically embraced' asking for e-mail, instant messages and mobile-phone location data, but there's no US federal law that requires the reporting of requests for stored communications data, according to Christopher Soghoian, a doctoral candidate at the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University."
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US Police Increasingly Peeping At Email, IMs

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  • Happened to me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @08:21AM (#35806190)
    I had an out-of-state police dept. gain access to my Gmail account for a joke email I forwarded to somebody who requested it. The intended recipient provided me the wrong email address (off by one letter) and it ended up in the wrong mailbox. It was not threatening/sick/graphic, yet they were able to access my account and locate me by phone.
  • From a cop... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @08:45AM (#35806342)

    My father is a cop, supervisor of investigations here actually, and I asked him about this once. If I remember correctly, the standard our police use is that any electronic documents that you have in your possession (i.e. a cell phone pic or document on a laptop) at the time of arrest are free game unless they are locked, encrypted, etc. If the document is not in your immediate possession (readable with out connecting to a server or decrypting), then they need a warrant from a judge to view them. The concept is the same as a locked briefcase, they can't force you to open it with out a warrant.

    Also, Keep in mind that just because they are making the requests, doesn't mean they are being honored. I didn't see any thing in the article citing how many of these requests were actually processed, and the desired information handed over to the police. In fact, when I worked for Sprint we were all instructed in the event that some one approached the retail staff about making these requests that they were required to contact a division of the legal department and that they would likely need a warrant/court order.

    Also, IANAL and neither is my father...so take what I say with a grain of salt.

  • Re:Wrench & Geniuses (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @09:50AM (#35807136)

    The "what are you hiding" crowd is having a disturbing influence lately.

    There's an easy, direct answer to that: "Well, what do you want to find??"
    Because that's what it's all about. Them wanting to find "something". Anything, really. To get you to obey and serve.

    That's why this goes so well with churches: They invented it! And churches are on the real pro level. Because they simply defined basic human things like having fun with sex, etc, as crimes ("sins"). So they don't have to find something. They know they have something on you to punish you for. And since everyone is a criminal^Wsinner, everyone has to do as they say, so be "saved".
    They drove this so far, that the victims themselves protected their overlords!

    Compared to churches, our semi-totalitarian governments are dilettantish n00bs. Look for the churches, and the dark ages, for the real professional mindfuck that might await us again.

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir

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