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Google Backs Yahoo In Privacy Fight With DoJ

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the in-yer-corner dept.

Google 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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Privacy (4, Insightful)

kyrio (1091003) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872490)

Is in your imagination.

Re:Privacy (1)

jduhls (1666325) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872946)

Property is in your imagination, as well. You gonna eat that?

Re:Privacy (2, Funny)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873364)

your sig makes me hate you as a person.

Re:Privacy (0)

Asclepius99 (1527727) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873790)

I bet you're not the type of person that overacts to things.

Re:Privacy (1)

Decker-Mage (782424) | more than 3 years ago | (#31874266)

"I'd rather die a slave than sentence another human to die for my freedom."

Then either you do not understand the sig (which speaks to conscription) or you are yet another poltroon who would conscript the service of other free men and women to provide for your liberty. I find the latter notion extremely abhorrent. Every man and woman in my family, since time out of mind, has always served whether called for or not. We do not call for others to defend our, or your, liberty. That is the decision of each free person. Instead, I question whether a State should stand when others are given the right to demand such service of members of that State. I am quite sure that the Founders would agree that it should not. As for us, we are, and were, already there.

And no, we do not serve blindly , as my collection of literature on the Constitution here will attest. If one would take oath, it would serve well to know, and understand completely, what one takes oath to protect defend. That is something that our so-called "servant's" have apparently forgotten.

Mod Off-Topic [and far too flowery!] as you will. That matter of comment shall not stand abide in my passing.

Re:Privacy (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872992)

Privacy is in your imagination.

All concepts are. The question is deeper that that, and goes to whether or not we're imagining the same things.

The Cloud is perfectly secure. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31873310)

Wait a minute. I'm a manager, and I've been reading a lot of case studies and watching a lot of webcasts about The Cloud. Based on all of this glorious marketing literature, I, as a manager, have absolutely no reason to doubt the safety of any data put in The Cloud.

The case studies all use words like "secure", "MD5", "RSS feeds" and "encryption" to describe the security of The Cloud. I don't know about you, but that sounds damn secure to me! Some Clouds even use SSL and HTTP. That's rock solid in my book.

And don't forget that you have to use Web Services to access The Cloud. Nothing is more secure than SOA and Web Services, with the exception of perhaps SaaS. But I think that Cloud Services 2.0 will combine the tiers into an MVC-compliant stack that uses SaaS to increase the security and partitioning of the data.

My main concern isn't with the security of The Cloud, but rather with getting my Indian team to learn all about it so we can deploy some first-generation The Cloud applications and Web Services to provide the ultimate platform upon which we can layer our business intelligence and reporting, because there are still a few verticals that we need to leverage before we can move to The Cloud 2.0.

4th Amendment (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31872506)

Re:4th Amendment (3, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872534)

Clearly. If the framers had meant to include the internet in the 4th amendment it would have been worded along the lines of: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, series of tubes, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.....

Re:4th Amendment (5, Insightful)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872678)

Yeah, I'm quite certain (as are you I believe) that cloud storage of my E-mail which is obviously restricted to me via a password system would constitute my effects, just as much as a bank safety deposit box would.

other ramifications??? (2, Insightful)

electricprof (1410233) | more than 3 years ago | (#31874050)

IANAL but this seems to get close to the idea of itellectual property. If "effects" excludes email from protection because it's not physically tangible property, then why would IP enjoy protection? Of course I'm probably way off here.

Re:4th Amendment (4, Insightful)

skine (1524819) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872682)

My email and safe deposit box are held by third parties, each of which has the ability to look inside.

I would hope that the government needs a warrant two inspect the contents of my safe deposit box, and more importantly, that my bank would not allow them access without a warrant.

The same goes for my email.

Re:4th Amendment (1)

cawpin (875453) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873054)

each of which has the ability to look inside.

Um, no? Your safe deposit box should require TWO keys to open.

Re:4th Amendment (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873210)

each of which has the ability to look inside.

Um, no? Your safe deposit box should require TWO keys to open.

While true, there are (expensive) ways for the bank to open the box if you lose both keys. With a warrant, I see no reason why they wouldn't use this method.

Re:4th Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31873732)

Dear God,

i would like to thank you for creating my father-in-law, forgive him for bartering approach to praying and getting things from you.

It is only because of people like him, who bury guns in their yard, just in case the "man" wants to take them, that people like us can expect due process. If the "man" wasn't afraid of my father-in-law, the "man" would be reading our mail without a warrant, tap our phone, etc

i apologize for not believing in you, but then again, i don't believe in the "man" either :)

regards

Uli

Did Google Find Its Balls? (4, Informative)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872508)

Not trolling ... but Google seems to have found its balls again. It stood up to China and now its trying to stand up to the DoJ. Of course, backing Yahoo in this fight benefits Google as well. There's nothing wrong with protecting your own interests if you're also doing the right thing.

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (5, Insightful)

will.perdikakis (1074743) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872670)

Interestingly enough, there are actually people that would be willing to give up the privacy of their email if it makes the world safer.

You hear it all the time... "I am willing to take more time going through airport security, since it will make the skies safer." This, along with many other one-liners roll our forefathers over.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Ben Franklin

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31872774)

took the words out of my mouth. they're rolling all over the place.

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (5, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872892)

Well - why DID you think there were so many earthquakes? Our forefathers are having fits rolling over in their graves!

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872844)

You hear it all the time... "I am willing to take more time going through airport security, since it will make the skies safer."

I want to smack those morons. The only thing was required to prevent another 9/11 style attack was a locked cockpit door and the understanding that the pilots will LAND THE PLANE IMMEDIATELY if the shit hits the fan. The passengers and crew aren't going to roll over like sheep anymore. Every attack on an airline since 9/11 (and even on 9/11, see Flight 93) has been foiled by the passengers.

That's all we needed. No body scanners, no liquids ban, no forced removal of your shoes, no security theater at all. Just plain fucking common sense. The fact that we soon won't be able to board an airplane without some Government bureaucrat looking at our genitals on a computer monitor tells me that the terrorists won.

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (1)

ZippyTheWonderDog (1791646) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873070)

sorry, this would not have stopped the shoe moron if he had been able to use a lighter. C'mon, we need basic protection. Having rules that are enforced like "no bombs on planes (REALLY)" is not usurping your civil rights. On another note, though ... I was flying out of England just after they had a rash of attacks on their airports in 2006. While Heathrow did not allow any lighters (again, I have no problem with this), they had an interesting rule at one of the other London airports I was flying through - I think it was Luton. "No more than one lighter"... WTF?

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31873226)

A normal passenger only needs one lighter for his cigarettes, a terrorist needs two lighters so that he can light both of his shoes concurrently. It's a time saving measure for the terrorist if one shoe doesn't detonate. The security people have this covered I assure you, so you should just go back to worrying about less important things that your feeble mind can understand.

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873314)

Has anything they've implemented since 9/11, or anything they've proposed since 9/11, made it impossible for somebody to stick some C4 and a BIC lighter up their ass?

No...? So what's the point?

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 3 years ago | (#31874038)

Having rules that are enforced like "no bombs on planes (REALLY)" is not usurping your civil rights.

I don't think its the rules that bother people, its the enforcement. I doubt you'd find many people who take issues with a "no bombs" policy, the real problem is that we're willing to give up basically all of our rights to enforce it. Worse, we give up all our rights for pretty much negligible results.

The problem is that at some point the cure becomes worse than the disease. Some argue (and I agree) that this point has been passed. "Safety at any cost" is a pretty heinous ideology, and it is an ideology that many people are embracing, and many countries and agencies are implementing, completely ignorant of the long term consequences. While loosening the constitutional grip on law enforcement might be fine and dandy for preventing terrorists, I doubt many people would be happy with the potential civil consequences in other areas.

Having a rule that says "murder is illegal" is fine and dandy, but when the enforcement path includes cameras in everyones house, then there is a problem.

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (1)

ZippyTheWonderDog (1791646) | more than 3 years ago | (#31874248)

I agree with you (nearly) totally. Like I said, the actual implementation has sucked. Bigtime. The reason I don't totally agree is on display in this thread. Yes, some people (wayyyyy too many for my taste) REALLY DO think its OK to fly with guns and knives. And some people REALLY DO think that all structures must be made safe for collision with a transatlantic plane full o' fuel. Go figger.

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (2, Interesting)

bartoku (922448) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31873464)

The twin towers were designed to handle airplane collisions. Then airplanes got bigger.

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31873754)

building buildings to withstand a direct hit from a commercial airliner is expensive. I believe it would be cheaper to simply lock the door to the cockpit.

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31873776)

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?

I believe that it's because there is the following asinine idea: if there is a problem on the plane, passenger issues, or whatever, then the pilot is supposed to deal with it. Unruly passenger? Pilot comes out. That kind of thing.

It goes back to the idea that the pilot is the captain... and like a captain of a ship, he is responsible for the ship and what goes on on-board. Remove that idea, and all the problems are solved.

The pilot should only fly the plane (and deal with safety of mechanical/control systems), and that's it. They should only exit the cockpit to eat or to take a piss. They should only have the authority to fly the plane to its destination, or to land at a nearby airport in the even of an emergency.

The chief steward should have all responsibility for the cabin.

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (1)

SEE (7681) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873802)

the Empire State building stood up to a collision from a WW2 bomber plane and only lost three floors to fire

What took down the towers was the fuel-fed fire weakening the structural beams, not the impact. The B-25 carries a maximum of 670 gallons of fuel, while a 767ER carries 23,980 gallons, more than 35 times as much. Further, in both cases it was a flight from Boston to New York City, which was a much larger percentage of the B-25's flight range than a 767's. So, there was around two orders of magnitude more fuel feeding the fires at each WTC tower than there was feeding the Empire State Building fire, and thus a similarly increased level of total heat delivered to the structural steel.

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (1)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873428)

But....Think of the Children!

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872866)

Since when is quoting Ben Franklin considered "trolling"? Sometimes the truth is the truth whether it hurts or not. There are things that we as Americans shouldn't be proud of, and watering down our individual rights should be one of them

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (1)

drewhk (1744562) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873170)

Ben Franklin has Bad Karma now...

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873418)

You hear it all the time... "I am willing to take more time going through airport security, since it will make the skies safer." This, along with many other one-liners roll our forefathers over.

The fools who said that in the first place were thinking of lines for metal detectors. If after the DB Cooper incident the government had gone straight to baggage inspections, crazy liquids policies, random pat-down searches, no-fly lists, and the like, people would have freaked. Now that the frog is well and truly boiled, objecting to full-body scans and random intrusive physical searches makes you a kook or a criminal.

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872806)

You should watch this video of Schmidt at Atmosphere. It's really a great insight into the mind of Google. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBaVyCcw47M [youtube.com]

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (2, Interesting)

ZippyTheWonderDog (1791646) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Did Google Find Its Balls? (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873388)

Oh man, I hope you put on your asbestos underwear before leaving the house this morning...

constitutional law professor (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872524)

I'm glad we elected someone with a through understanding of constitutional law and a healthy respect for our civil liberties. It's not like he reversed himself [wikipedia.org] on the issue before even becoming President or anything....

Meet the new boss, same as the old. When will we learn? Vote Democrat or Republican -- the only difference is which order you will lose your rights in.

Re:constitutional law professor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31872616)

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.

Re:constitutional law professor (4, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:constitutional law professor (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872952)

Exactly. The people who wrote the constitution understood that the government is the enemy. That is why they put so many restrictions on government. Unfortunately, all our technological advances in the past ~150 years has done an end run around the constitution.

"Our forefathers wouldn't have approved of reading private mail stored in the cloud!"

"Your forefathers couldn't DREAM of the cloud, so the constitution doesn't apply!"

Re:constitutional law professor (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873358)

Exactly. The people who wrote the constitution understood that the government is the enemy. That is why they put so many restrictions on government. Unfortunately, all our technological advances in the past ~150 years has done an end run around the constitution.

"Our forefathers wouldn't have approved of reading private mail stored in the cloud!"

"Your forefathers couldn't DREAM of the cloud, so the constitution doesn't apply!"

I'd like to think that we have some honest people still in washington. What we need is another Frank Church, And a strengthening of fisa.

Re:constitutional law professor (5, Interesting)

trurl7 (663880) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872656)

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

Re:constitutional law professor (5, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872716)

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.

Re:constitutional law professor (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873222)

Did it get him your vote?

You don't need to answer, but that is a surprising amount of integrity for someone that will reverse such a stance.

Re:constitutional law professor (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873506)

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

I'd be more interested to see a scan of the scathing letter.

Re:constitutional law professor (1)

jmhoule314 (921571) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872720)

me too! The worst part is that he was campaigning and didn't even have to go back to DC for the vote.

Re:constitutional law professor (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872740)

But if he hadn't gone to DC he wouldn't have gotten "I'm willing to stand up to my base" street cred.

Re:constitutional law professor (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873430)

Question from a European who, too, was very disappointed of this reversal : has he been giving reasons for that ? Did he say it was for security ? did he present it as a compromise with republicans ? did he deny changing positions ?

Re:constitutional law professor (1)

trurl7 (663880) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873670)

In the end, the reason he reversed himself was national security. He gave a response along the lines of "It wasn't the bill I would have wanted, but it needed to be passed, so..." The controversy at the heart of it was the class-action lawsuit immunity for telcos that participated in Bush's illegal wiretapping. Obama stated that he would support no bill that included such a provision. It is this stance that he reversed.

The "pro-bill" side argued, btw, that the revised bill MUST be passed, otherwise the terrorists win. However, they would refuse to support the bill if the immunity provisions were omitted. Basically, national security == telco immunity from prosecution.

Re:constitutional law professor (1)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873218)

Yeap, "... more of the same, and much MUCH worse!"

I find Google interesting (2, Interesting)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872530)

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?

Re:I find Google interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31872630)

Seems pretty sensible to me. Even if Google wanted to protect its users, these events show that they may be compelled to break that privacy protection. Thus, don't expect any privacy.

I don't know if the government could afford to pay off Google.

Re:I find Google interesting (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872980)

Wouldn't that be a suicidal move by the government? You can't expect to keep that under the table these days.

Re:I find Google interesting (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873234)

Legally, Google probably couldn't guarantee privacy if it wanted to.

I think the real irony is that there are many people out there who claim to value privacy but openly embrace social and national defense programs that gives our government direct access to personal information and enables them to control our lives more thoroughly.

Re:I find Google interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31874268)

Last I was aware, the NSA had fiberoptic splices on every major carrier hotel in the country, and many other major hubs around the world. Well documented, common knowledge within the sigint community.

Google can't guarantee privacy because they know the NSA already has access to everything they ever interact with.

The purpose of backing Yahoo! here and opposing the DoJ (read: NSA) is to state that they are opposed to the illegal action even if it already is occuring, as opposed to Sprint / Bell / Comcast etc who are all complicit (was it Sprint who actually moved their primary hub, at their own expense, to better service the NSA? I forget which one).

nah (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873416)

Hmmm I wonder how they would react if the Government offered to pay for the same information they are currently requesting be provided free?

The US government paying google with US taxpayer dollars to get information from google's international (read: not necessarily US taxpayer) end users? I don't see that going over well.

What? (4, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872532)

"Previously opened e-mail is not in electronic storage."

I'm still trying to wrap my head around this. If these emails can be accessed at a later date they're obviously being stored somewhere. Now I lose my right to privacy because I've opened an email?

What exactly is the problem with just getting a search warrant?

Re:What? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872596)

What exactly is the problem with just getting a search warrant?

I'm not sure but I bet you $100 it involves child pornography or terrorism.

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872664)

The fact that due process frequently restricts the police to acting justly instead of going on fishing expeditions.

Re:What? (3, Interesting)

unr3a1 (1264666) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:What? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873046)

one problem with email from home, most residential providers restrict the email port.

Another thing is: if the issue is alerting the suspect, then you use a wiretapping warrant.

If the problem is no due cause? then you are shit out of luck.

Re:What? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873378)

Most of them will open it if you ask them.

If not, a paid-for domain with email is dirt cheap these days - three bucks a month should cover it.

Re:What? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872936)

What exactly is the problem with just getting a search warrant?

Maybe "clouds" aren't in any single legal jurisdiction so they figure it will be as hard for you to fight their actions as it would be for them to get their warrant?

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873422)

What exactly is the problem with just getting a search warrant?

It is not convenient to have to bother with one.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31873884)

And how does one "open" an email? When it's transmitted to another computer? Well, it's transmitted from computer to computer before my ISP stores it. When it's displayed on the screen of my computer? What if an admin at my ISP displays it on another screen somewhere? The whole sentence is non-sensical.

Makes no sense (5, Insightful)

thepike (1781582) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872542)

How are previously opened emails not in electronic storage? Are they electronic? Yes. Are they being stored? Yes. Thereby electronic storage. And how does the previously opened or unopened even come into play here? When I open my mail (and keep it in a filing cabinet in my house) is it any less mine than it was before I opened it? Would they still need a search warrant to find it, or is it not in "hard storage" because I opened it? I don't understand why people thing that storing things in the cloud makes them less mine (legally). When I rent a storage space barn they property I put in it is still mine, so if I'm using online servers to store information, that information should still be mine.

At the same time, I'm glad to see Google, the EFF, and such coming to help Yahoo. Obviously it's because they don't want precedent set, but still it's nice to see them playing nice.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872694)

Come meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

Sheesh. 40 years of getting fooled again.

In transit (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872832)

electronic storage "in transit". The key part of the phrase is in transit. after you read it, it's already delivered. Like sitting in your mailbox delivered. This is like the gov demanding the postman tell him what was written on your postcards after you get them. We have laws governing the mail system for a reason, to prevent this. Just because the gov thinks it's convenient to spy on you is no reason to treat email and snail mail different. History repeats itself, those who are ignorant of it get burned. If the government taxes tea you have a tea party. If the gov spies on honest people then honest people adopt encryption.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

d474 (695126) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872874)

Exactly. This "opened" and "not opened" email vernacular are just arbitrary virtual terms designed to mimic real world snail mail terminology. Email is just a digital file and whether or not somebody has read the contents of the file has nothing to do with the governments authority (or lack there of) to read it without warrant.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872902)

As a side note, don't forget that the White House considers unopened emails to be undelivered ;-)

Re:Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31872966)

Posting Anon because I needed to mod parent up.

Why are lawyers allowed to randomly make up absolutely anything?

Allow me to quote the parent:
"How are previously opened emails not in electronic storage? Are they electronic? Yes. Are they being stored? Yes. Thereby electronic storage."
No Further Questions your honor. Move to dismiss plaintiff's Red Herring argument with penalties for abuse of process.

OK DoJ (4, Interesting)

aztektum (170569) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872560)

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

No Privicy if Networked (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872600)

Remember the thinkgeek.com 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?

Re:No Privicy if Networked (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872974)

You can hook your TI-85 up to a computer connected to the internet.

TI85 (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873474)

You can hook your TI-85 up to a computer connected to the internet.

indeed. [ticalc.org]

Re:No Privicy if Networked (2, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873216)

Remember the thinkgeek.com 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.

Re:No Privicy if Networked (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873634)

I think we are talking about different levels of 'secure.' My house is secure, in that most people would not bother going into it. However if I had anything of high value I would get a vault and keep it locked up. And depending on how much it's worth, burying the vault into the foundation of the house would be the best place to keep it. However I'm fully aware that my home could be entered at any time without my connect by some one with criminal intent. Computers are the same way. Email is secure because no one bothers to brake in and read mine. If I wanted a secure computer the only way to do so is have it in a 'vault' as in isolated form other computers. (And as this article is about searches without a search warrant I'm not going to talk about due process)

Death of cloud services in 3..2..1 (3, Insightful)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872640)

Well, this would put a damper on quite a few things if the government's motion is granted.

And what is the implication if I just keep marking things as unread?

4th Amendment:The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

It does not say that papers and effects in our houses are protected. Rather it treats them separately, with no distinguishment between them. Also, "effects" does not solely mean "possessions" though it does certainly include them. I would contend that email is an 'effect'.

Re:Death of cloud services in 3..2..1 (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872848)

I would think e-mail is a paper personally.

Re:Death of cloud services in 3..2..1 (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873122)

right. Paper refers to documents aka information, be they on paper, lambskin, stone tablets, knots on a string, magnetically charged platters or electrons quantum tunneled into a resistor.

Re:Death of cloud services in 3..2..1 (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873264)

Agreed; I would read effects as personal effects, things that you own and often carry on you (such as keys, wallet, etc). I would further say that being "secure in your houses" covers the rest of your possessions. Of course, IANAL - in fact, IANAUSCitizen either.

Obviously, time to fully encrypt all communication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31872662)

Time to fully encrypt all communications. At least an encrypted email is on par with an encrypted post card.

Re:Obviously, time to fully encrypt all communicat (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 3 years ago | (#31874142)

Here is an idea; why doesn't Google start automatically encrypting messages sent between Gmail accounts? This would pretty much close off a small, but decent, percentage of traffic from quasi-lawful snooping? Being that Google is the big player, it would provide impetuous for other email service providers to follow suit, or form agreements to cross encrypt with each other (all main from gmail to gmail will be encrypted, as will all main from gmail to yahoo, or yahoo to yahoo). It would be nice for marketing too.

I fully admit my idea is probably highly naive, and wildly unrealistic.

hurray! (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872668)

for the not-so-little guys! (i.e. google & co)

mod 3obwn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31872688)

the mundane chores dying. See? It's were nullified by is EFNet, and you [mit.edu] found While the project on my Pentium Pro another cunting Anybody's guess all; in order to go locating #GNAA, anybody's guess Happen. 'At least has beEn my only The same operation fueling internal parts. The current Resulted in the backwards. To the be a lot slower developers these challenges irc.easynews.com future at all world will have those uber-asshole

damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31872746)

shit like this makes me glad oboingo is going to be a one-termer.

Yes We Can! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31872834)

I can't wait until President Obama is voted into office over our oppressor Bush! He would never stand for warrantless wire tapping or any of this nonsense.

Vote for Obama! Change we can believe in!

Move the Cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31872850)

Based on this, it seems that Google and Yahoo need to move their servers out of the US and into a country with stronger data protection laws. In fact let's move most of the internet into one so that the CIA/FBI don't have a virtually free hand to snoop.

Internet companies should get together and buy an island somewhere outside of US jurisdiction, and run their services from there. Then, if the state wants to snoop it will have to obey international law, rather than simply punching a loophole through US law through which to suck our personal information with a vacuum cleaner.

Maybe Google and Yahoo should do what Wikileaks did, and move to Sweden.

Slippery slope (5, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872878)

In used to dislike slippery slope arguments. They usually start by claiming A, even though is neccessary, should not be done because it will lead to Z. This ignores the fact that B-Y exist and we have a lot of precendents about NOT doing them, all of which prevent Z from being considered.

But what I have seen happening with regards to internet privacy is a clear, real slippery slope. Mainly because of two factors:

A. Is NOT and never has been neccessary. (I.e. if they can get a warrant to read my my snail-mail, they can surely get one to read my email.)

B. Unlike the past centurey, technology now moves so quickly that lawmakers, judges and lawyers often are in the position of making judgments about things that they don't understand. So the slippery slope starts to be a real issue as they are forced to use less and less similar reference points as precedent instead.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873278)

Slippery slopes actually do exist, and as such identifying them in an argument doesn't do much to the argument itself.

Take courtship, for example. It is the quintessential slippery slope. You start off by simply talking, and wind up having sex. Without the talking, no sex. With the talking, maybe sex, maybe not. Depends on the rest. But the path is there, and it is generally on the part of the court-er to nudge things towards the slippery end, rather than against it. The first request is a reasonable one, 'lets go out and share a meal', but the end goal is not nearly as likely to have succeeded, so we start small and work our way towards what we really want.

Simple human nature, really.

it does surprise me that they're helping out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31872890)

it does surprise me that they're helping out. they're are alot of companies push for digital due process and bring up our right into the digital age. for more info:

http://www.digitaldueprocess.org

Why stop at previously viewed email? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31872926)

At some level laws need to make sense. I would like someone to explain to me why I have an expectation of privacy for new messages but not those that have already been read? Does the SMTP RFC mandate previously read messages get pushed into a public space with no expectation of privacy?

Too many people acting like wise word smiths with nonsensical definitions and interpretations that have no logical bering on reality whatsoever. They know what their doing is nonsensical but intentionally set out to find an end run/statutory loophole as a direct affront to the same constitution they previously swore an oath to uphold.

It's about the money (1)

hargrand (1301911) | more than 3 years ago | (#31872940)

Google and Yahoo have invested heavily in cloud computing infrastructure. They don't really care about protecting individual privacy except where it will come back to bite them in the bottom line.

I'm not knocking capitalism, mind you ... I kind of like it. But if you think that either of these companies are taking these actions based on an some principled appreciation of the 4th Ammendment, you're deluding yourself.

the 2703(D) order? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31873308)

http://itlaw.wikia.com/wiki/2703(d)_order

Hmm here's supposedly whats required with a 2703 order...

it specifically states a court order is required.

Private property access? (1)

j-beda (85386) | more than 3 years ago | (#31873328)

I understand that "the man" is not allowed to go through my stuff without a warrant and stuff like that, and that I cannot invoke any "don't touch that!" type of rights when "the man" wants to go through my friends' and associates' stuff, in their attempts at finding out stuff about me. Are they now, however, required to jump through similar hoops to compel others to show them or give them stuff? If the police turn up at my mom's house and ask to see all the letters I wrote to her (email or snail-mail) does she not have the right to refuse them unless they have a search warrant? Are they not required to get a subpoena in order to compel her to turn stuff over?

I suppose even in that case, the level of review that a subpoena requires is less than that for a search warrant, and that one has less control over the actions of your mom that is desired (she might just give them the info without protest). In this case, the EFF, Yahoo and Google seem to be arguing that the third party should not even have the option of providing the material.

I guess at a minimum this points out that people might want to consider the policies in regards to searches that your online storage providers have.

Is there any implementation of IMAP that encrypts the email on the server with your public key, as it is read or received? Maybe some system such as that would provide the storage service provider some ability to say to any request for data - "sorry, I do not have the key to unlock that information - you'll have to get a warrant for the suspect for that". Of course in the UK, that would not give much protection since it is a crime not to give up your keys when requested (which could make for some interesting "pranks" where you plant encrypted files on a person and then get them investigated for some nefarious thing)
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2007/10/uk-can-now-demand-data-decryption-on-penalty-of-jail-time.ars [arstechnica.com]

Go Opera Unite? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31873662)

Couldn't the Opera browser's Unite feature (for things other than email) circumvent this by storing things locally? It needs more developers though.

When will you libtards get it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31874048)

How do all you libtards here that helped put the current Liar in Chief in the oval office feel about him now? Suckers!!!

This one hurts (1)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 3 years ago | (#31874090)

I'm a yahoo customer. I like being able to access old emails from anywhere.

Of course, those old emails contain letters to and from girlfriends. I wouldn't want anyone reading those.

There are emails to and from the porn site that ripped me off. However secretly proud I am of the fact that I talked them into giving me a refund, I'd rather the feds not know about it.

There are emails negotiating gun purchases from private individuals across the country. I followed all applicable laws, but you can't tell that from the content of the emails and I'd sure prefer that the BATFE not feel the need to interview me.

There are multiple letters to the editor of local papers. I asked for those to be published anonymously because I expected to paper to protect me (at least a little) but I certainly don't trust federal authorities in the same way.

I could go on and on and on. My yahoo account doesn't contain proof of anything illegal in my life but if you are a prude, an authoritarian, my employer, etc., you would almost surely find an email or two that would strain our relationship if you were able to read them.

I guess I'll have to start relying on local storage and doing a better job of backing up.

That whole "convenience of the cloud" thing sure is a lot less attractive than it once was.

Phooey!

Amicus Curiae (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31874244)

This is Slashdot. There's no reason to dumb down "amicus curiae" as "friend-of-the-court".

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