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US Government Seizes Email of WikiLeaks Volunteer 217

Posted by Soulskill
from the advertisement-for-the-usps dept.
bs0d3 writes "The U.S. Department of Justice has forced Gmail and Sonic.net to hand over the personal information of Jacob Appelbaum, a WikiLeaks volunteer. Sonic says they fought to keep the DoJ out of Appelbaum's records, which was very expensive but 'the right thing to do.' Google said, 'we comply with the law,' although 'Both Google and Sonic pressed for the right to inform Mr. Appelbaum of the secret court orders, according to people familiar with the investigation.' The collected information and the nature of the investigation remain classified. Applebaum's Gmail correspondence seized by the DoJ dates back to November 1, 2009, which is believed to be the month that WikiLeaks contributor and Army Private Bradley Manning allegedly began communication with Julian Assange. Last year, federal prosecutors used a similar subpoena to obtain information pertaining to Applebaum's Twitter account."
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US Government Seizes Email of WikiLeaks Volunteer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 10, 2011 @05:50PM (#37672120)
    1. Encryption

    2. Encryption

    3. Encryption
  • by einhverfr (238914) <chris.traversNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday October 10, 2011 @05:54PM (#37672166) Homepage Journal

    As I understand it, the 4th Amendment is generally extended to cover contents of communications, meaning a warrant is supposed to be required for such contents. However, as I understand it, the current laws make a difference between recent communications and less recent ones, meaning that old emails can be obtained at a lower burden (and via a subpoena) while newer emails may require a warrant.

    Note that all that is required for a subpeona is for the DoJ to say they think there is content in the emails which probably relates to an on-going criminal investigation..... So historical data is up for grabs just because someone thinks it might be relevant.......

    Note that these apply only to communications hosted on third parties. It seems to me prudent to actually download all your communictions and stop relying on either IMAP or webmail interfaces, so that the contents can no longer be subject to subpeona.

  • Encrypt everything (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Monday October 10, 2011 @06:14PM (#37672378) Homepage
    This is why if you're going to be doing stuff that you want to keep private, you encrypt it. If he was conducting wikileaks business over gmail using unencrypted email, that's very sad for Mr. Applebaum.
  • by Hatta (162192) on Monday October 10, 2011 @06:14PM (#37672382) Journal

    Even non-sensitive emails may have some value to a government on a witch hunt. It only takes six lines written by the hand of the most honest man...

  • by Hatta (162192) on Monday October 10, 2011 @06:18PM (#37672438) Journal

    As I understand it, the 4th Amendment is generally extended to cover contents of communications, meaning a warrant is supposed to be required for such contents.

    There's no "supposed to be" about it. Warrants are required for legal access to personal communications.

    However, as I understand it, the current unconstitutional laws make a difference between recent communications and less recent ones

    FTFY.

  • by superdave80 (1226592) on Monday October 10, 2011 @06:25PM (#37672538)

    ...thanks again, Dubya...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USA_PATRIOT_Act#Details [wikipedia.org]

    The Act was passed in the House by 357 to 66 (of 435) and in the Senate by 98 to 1 and was supported by members of both the Republican and Democratic parties.

    Both parties started this, and both parties have continued to support this act. (You'll notice that the Dems didn't repeal this when they had full control of the House, Senate, and Presidency). The sooner you stop thinking there is an 'us' and 'them' when it comes to the two parties, the better off you will be.

  • by Josh Triplett (874994) on Monday October 10, 2011 @06:26PM (#37672566) Homepage
    Why would *anyone* involved in something as sensitive as WikiLeaks trust a webmail provider of any kind, or any third-party email storage? Run your own mail server, download your mails immediately, and store all emails locally on an encrypted drive. That won't protect new emails in transit (that's what GPG is for), but it'll protect existing emails. I can understand people using webmail when they don't really care. But in this case, it seems ridiculous.
  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday October 10, 2011 @06:28PM (#37672586)

    The problem is that the Patriot Act (thanks again, Dubya.)

    You mean "thanks again, Dubya and Obama". Obama signed an extension earlier this year.

  • Ditto (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 10, 2011 @06:35PM (#37672656)

    I'm frankly amazed that PGP / GnuPG hasn't caught on by now. I mean, it's almost 2012 for pete's sake - why are we still sending emails in the clear? Maybe events like this will make people rethink the importance of privacy in communication...

  • by KaoticEvil (91813) on Monday October 10, 2011 @06:44PM (#37672764)
    It's not so much an "us and them" when it comes to the parties, it seems more and more that it's an "us and them" between the government and the people.
  • by rueger (210566) * on Monday October 10, 2011 @08:16PM (#37673680) Homepage
    How cute, arguing about whether or not the government is behaving properly.

    Accept the facts: the rules that apply to you do not apply to the government, especially the secret bits of it. Not because you can't find a statute to support your argument, but because they DON'T CARE and will ignore the rules when it suits them.

    And they have bigger, badder guns than you do, and are able to send you off to foreign prisons if they figure it will shut you up.

    In movies the Good Guys can win. This is real life though.

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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