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Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Obama’s Justice Department Tramples Email Privacy Rights

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 7, 2010

Through a combination of political correctness and the absence of an independent press the Obama Administration is marching down a path of trampling on individual rights.  One manifestation is the Administration’s desire to have access to emails without the need for going to the judicial system for search warrants.  Sounds like the Bush Administration?  You bet.  This group in Washington could teach Bush and Chaney a thing or two about trampling rights.

CNET has reported on an issue that should concern all Americans.  In a Colorado court Yahoo is fighting the government’s attempt to obtain user emails without the need for search warrants.  It has been joined by a coalition that includes Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Progress and Freedom Foundation, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, and TRUSTe in its battle with the US Department of Justice.

In a brief filed in April the coalition stated that a search warrant signed by a judge should be required for the FBI or other police agency to read contents of Yahoo Mail messages.  Their position is that users who store emails on the Internet should have a reasonable expectation of privacy and are protected by the U.S. Constitution.

The Obama Administrating disagrees with Yahoo’s position.  They argue that federal law requires search warrants only for messages in “electronic storage” that are less than 181 days old.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Pegeen Rhyne in the government’s brief stated that Yahoo Mail doesn’t meet the definition, specifically that “Previously opened e-mail is not in ‘electronic storage.”  Had Bush and Chaney come up with the Obama Administration’s position on this issue the screams from the Left and press would have been ear-shattering.

This week President Obama expressed outrage at a new Arizona law that allows State law enforcement to insure that people stopped for reasonable cause were not in the country illegally.  Given Obama’s willingness to trample on the rights of all Americans through email spying his expressed outrage at the Arizona law is clearly political.  Obviously Progressives believe trampling on individual rights to further goals is justified.  Conversely, should illegals be sent back to their countries for begin illegal the pool of Left-leaning voters may shrink.

As for the press, is has been eerily quiet on the email privacy rights issue.  That is most likely related to the  profit motive, rather than politics.  They see the government’s attempt to stifle Internet freedom as a way to protect their own outdated business model.  Just follow the money.


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