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Google Backs Yahoo In Privacy Fight With DoJ 173

PatPending sends in CNET coverage of Yahoo's new allies in its fight with the DoJ to protect the privacy of its customers' email stored in the cloud. Google, the EFF, the CDT, and others have filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that the DoJ should be required to obtain a search warrant signed by a judge in order to compel Yahoo to turn over users' email messages. "Does email stored in the cloud have the same level of protection as the same information stored by a person at home? No, according to the Obama administration's Assistant US Attorney Pegeen Rhyne, who wrote in a government motion filed last month, 'Previously opened e-mail is not in "electronic storage." This court should therefore require Yahoo to comply with the order and produce the specified communications in the targeted accounts.' (The Justice Department's position is that what's known as a 2703(d) order — not as privacy-protective as the rules for search warrants — should let police read email.)" Update: 04/16 23:26 GMT by KD : he government backed off: "Saying the contested e-mail 'would not be helpful to the government’s investigation,' the authorities withdrew demands for e-mail in a pending and sealed criminal case." So no court ruling and no precedent.
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Google Backs Yahoo In Privacy Fight With DoJ

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  • by al0ha ( 1262684 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @11:33AM (#31872530) Journal
    On one hand they tell the users on their services to hold no expectation of privacy, then join a fight to keep information from the Government. Ah of course, providing information to the Government provides no profit. Hmmm I wonder how they would react if the Government offered to pay for the same information they are currently requesting be provided free?
  • OK DoJ (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aztektum ( 170569 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @11:35AM (#31872560)

    Then post all your already read e-mails to the Internet.

  • by trurl7 ( 663880 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @11:41AM (#31872656)

    That reversal is the reason I dislike Obama.
    I'm glad people still remember that!

  • Re:What? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by unr3a1 ( 1264666 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @11:46AM (#31872704)

    The problem with getting warrants is that they take time to get. They have to hand information over to a Judge to look at so they can determine if there is enough probable cause for a search warrant, and if they Judge denies it, no warrant, aka no searching.

    If the Judge DOES issue the warrant, they have to notify you at some point about the search, whether it be before they search, while they search, or after they have searched.

    If they can "legally" make it so that they don't need a warrant to acquire certain information, it allows them to gather information much more quickly on someone and without that person ever knowing that their property was searched (until the evidence is brought up in trial of course, then it would be obvious to that person that their property was searched at some point).

    This is about the government wanting the ability to gather information or evidence covertly and without cause on anyone they deem it to be necessary.

    This is why I am seriously considering just running my own e-mail server from my house. Then the only way to get the information would be to either subpoena me for it, or issue a warrant to come into my home to search my computer.

    Go Yahoo and Google for fighting this blatant violation of 4th Amendment rights.

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @11:46AM (#31872716) Journal

    I had donated a sizable sum of money (nearly $500) to his campaign before that reversal. After the reversal I wrote them a pretty scathing letter and received a refund of my donation. I donated every penny to the EFF. They've never lied to me and I assumed they needed the money more than Obama for America did.

    I still have an image of that check lying around somewhere. I was very proud of it.

  • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @11:46AM (#31872718)

    Ah, modded troll already. The truth hurts, doesn't it Democrats? Your guy is no better than the one that came before him with regards to our civil liberties.

    I doubt there's more than a handful of politicians in DC who would do a "good" job protecting our rights civil liberties. I don't think this DoJ issue is a Republican vs Democrat issue. It's definitely an us (citizens) against them (the government) issue.

  • by ZippyTheWonderDog ( 1791646 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @12:11PM (#31873000)
    Google has always had plenty of balls. It stood up to gov when it asked for IP addresses in (supposed) child pornography case. The issue then was that it was overly broad, and *our* gov would not guarantee it would not use the info for other purposes. Google said "hell no" and went to court, and got the data anonymized and MUCH smaller amount. In the meantime, Y!, AOL, and Mr. Softee - no balls between 'em - had already complied. I think Google sincerely thought they could change China gradually from the inside, so that is why they allowed censorship (althought they did indicate that the data was censored). When they realized that was not going to work - that China was just getting bolder - they used the attack as a fake reason to back out. Balls all around at Google.
  • by bartoku ( 922448 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @12:21PM (#31873158)
    I love your comment!

    I always wondered why the cockpit was not just locked and all. Was it because most hijackings before were not suicide missions and procedure was to try and save the passengers by negotiation or something? Are there any authoritative sources saying what you are saying that I can reference?

    Along the same lines a friend of mine would point out that the Empire State building stood up to a collision from a WW2 bomber plane and only lost three floors to fire. If we would just build are towers to withstand commercial airline collisions then we would not have to worry so much either. I am not being facetious either.

    I want all the security theater done away with, guns, knifes, explosives, cell phones, let them bring them on the plane. The plane should be able to handle it and keep flying and us passengers can take care of the rest. I am just tired of taking off my shoes and taking out my laptop when it does not seem like it would stop anyone really wanting to blow something up.
  • by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @12:25PM (#31873216)

    Remember the tee shirt "i read your e-mail"? We as the nerd community have known for years that if its on a computer it's fair game for any one clever enough to find a way in. The only secure system is the one that isn't networked and doesn't do anything that requires personal information of any kind, so that leaves us the NES and the TI85. Now the government want's to play with this power. Who is shocked by this?

    This is like saying that the only secure home is the one buried underground and sealed off by concrete.

    The gaps are obvious. Law enforcement has restrictions placed upon it expressly due to those gaps, not in spite of them.

    My neighbor can peer in my windows, but this can't be used against me in court as it was illegal for him to do so. This doesn't mean I need to board up all my windows - that's simply not the logical solution.

  • by Wardish ( 699865 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @02:00PM (#31874508) Journal

    /tinfoil hat

    One might wonder why all presidents appear to quickly move to the exact same positions regardless of their prior beliefs. /tinfoil hat off

    One might wonder.... hehehehe

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban