Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Who is reading your mail?

I think most of us take t for granted that email works like the post.  What you write gets sent by the postal (email) service and delivered to the recipient . and no-one is going to read it alnog the way.

EFF reports on two court cases in the US should make you think again.  Both are about government investigations getting access to emails stored with third parties. The cases make interesting reading - but to cut a long story short they reach different conclusions on whether handing your mail over to be stored on a third party server means you have given up your right to privacy - in american terms, are you protected by the Fourth Amendment.

The EFF do their usual professional job of explaining in chapter and verse why the good guys got it right.  Of course you can expect the same protection of your privacy of communication on the web as you can on snail mail or on the telephone.  Isn't that want we all want and expect?

What these two different cases mean for American legal precedent is not clear to me - but it is clear for me that if the law doesn't protect our privacy it is the law that needs to change.  And of course it's really convenient for police forces and government agencies to be able to gather information on criminals, political activists and undesirables (by whose definition)  - but respecting our rights is fundamental to the society you are there to protect.  Don't go there!

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Putting privacy first.

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