Feds demand Google Gmail surrender data on Wikileaks volunteer without a warrant

Nervous about privacy? Keep biting your fingernails, because the government is using the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act to demand carriers supply information without the bother of a warrant.

Not only do the Feds not need a warrant, they block the carrier from telling the search subject they are under investigation. In this case, tiny ISP Sonic.net Inc., filed suit to allow them to tell Jacob Appelbaum he was the target because of his Wikileaks volunteer work. Google didn't join that suit, and didn't notify Appelbaum when they turned over Gmail details of the email addresses of his correspondents over the last two years.

Some in Congress are working to update the ECPA for the modern world of the Internet, email, and GPS-enabled smartphones that leave digital trails of owner travels. Fourth Amendment fans believe the ECPA certainly violates the protections against unreasonable searches. Since the ECPA demands are closed, no one has a good count of the number of privacy violations the government demands.

Calling 1984

I know Jake. I had the proud privilege of employing Jake. This is a fishing expedition, and an absolute abuse of the EPIC and PATRIOT acts.

davidu on news.ycombinator.com

If the allegation of Google at the beginning of this year was true, this is much easier than the Chinese government, who had to hack into the Gmail system to get the email.

Sally Parker on wsj.com

Why are you blaming Google for complying with federal laws? Shouldn't you be criticizing the laws?

Jeremy Collake on readwriteweb.com

Welcome to the battle Canadian's have been fighting for the past several months. The Canadian government is trying  to pass  legislation in Canada that would make this practice legal for all law enforcement agencies without a warrant and with no oversight. (Visit openmedia.ca for more info on that front).

Marc Nashaat on readwriteweb.com


I am actually very curious what is motivating the Obama administration to go this route. Maybe they are just trying to find out who's doing the leaking, but afterall, they've got this gay soldier in solitary for doing it.

Dave Peterson on wsj.com

as German user of Gmail, Analytics and so on i'm a little shocked how the americans handle private informations. Here in Germany we have a long decission if using analytics is leagle because data is saved in US.

Phoenigs on readwriteweb.com

Law enforcement agencies have always found the Fourth Amendment to be remarkably inconvenient.

James M. Smith on wsj.com

The way it is

Never put anything in an email that you would not want to see on a billboard somewhere - there is ZERO expectancy of privacy.

Michael Herschel on wjs.com

people thought google doesn't have to obey the laws? google has been publishing government requests since 2009 and there's been little outrage at the laws or the government, the users are the ones who have rolled over and played dead.

Snoggler on readwriteweb.com

It fairness to Google, they fought this, and they are part of Digital Due Process, a group that is trying to get this law changed. http://www.digitaldueprocess.org/

RexRollman on news.ycombinator.com

One Federal Court judge has called the ECPA "Orwellian."

ITWorld DealPost: The best in tech deals and discounts.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon