Friday, April 16, 2010

Yahoo! Beats Feds in e-Mail Privacy Battle

David Kravets writes on Threat Level:

Yahoo prevailed Friday over Colorado federal prosecutors in a legal battle testing whether the Constitution’s warrant requirements apply to Americans’ e-mail.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the government withdrew its demands for e-mail in a pending criminal case, a move ending litigation over the hotly contested issue concerning when a warrant under the Fourth Amendment is required for Yahoo and other e-mail providers to release consumer communications to the authorities.

“The government has withdrawn its application, claiming that it no longer needs the information for its investigation,” Kevin Bankston, an EFF attorney, said by e-mail.

The brouhaha concerned a 1986 law that already allows the government to obtain a suspect’s e-mail from an internet service provider or webmail provider without a probable-cause warrant, once it’s been stored for 180 days or more. The government contended, and then backed off Friday, that it could get e-mail under 180-days old if that e-mail has been read by the owner, and the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections don’t apply.

More here.


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