Police Can View Email Without Warrant

If you value your privacy, you may want to know that your e-mail and other online communication is no longer private. US Police increasingly view private email and instant messages.

Yes, law enforcement has to get a wiretap and warrant for “real-time” interception (which can cost thousands of dollars). However, there is no such requirement for reading past email, and the cost is a mere $40 to get account information from Cox Communications.

[wpspoiler name=”Unfortunately” style=”wpui-red”]Unfortunately, there are no reporting requirements for the modern surveillance methods that make up the majority of law enforcement requests to service providers and telephone companies. As such, this surveillance largely occurs off the books, with no way for Congress or the general public to know the true scale of such activities.[/wpspoiler]

The police could be reading your email, or viewing your private communications on Facebook, and you may never know it. This means that the police, who I may be suing, could read my email communications to my lawyer. That is wrong!

[wpspoiler name=”In 2009″ style=”wpui-red”]Facebook told the news magazine Newsweek that it received 10 to 20 requests from police per day. Sprint received so many requests from law enforcement for mobile-phone location information that it overwhelmed its 110-person electronic surveillance team. It then set up a Web interface to give police direct access to users’ location data, which was used more than 8 million times in one year.[/wpspoiler]

These actions by law enforcement should not be allowed without a court order. People converse via email and other online communication with the assumption that the conversation is private. They are unaware of big brother listening or going through their private emails. We expect that the government follow the constitutional law that gives citizens a right against any unreasonable searches. They must get a search warrant via court order to view private emails and other conversations.

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