CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Friday, November 16, 2012

"Trying to Keep Your E-Mails Secret When the C.I.A. Chief Couldn’t"

From the New York Times:

“What people don’t realize is that hacking and spying went mainstream a decade ago,” said Dan Kaminsky, an Internet security researcher. “They think hacking is some difficult thing. Meanwhile, everyone is reading everyone else’s e-mails — girlfriends are reading boyfriends’, bosses are reading employees’ — because it’s just so easy to do.”

. . .

 E-mail providers like Google and Yahoo keep login records, which reveal I.P. addresses, for 18 months, during which they can easily be subpoenaed. The Fourth Amendment requires the authorities to get a warrant from a judge to search physical property. Rules governing e-mail searches are far more lax: Under the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a warrant is not required for e-mails six months old or older. Even if e-mails are more recent, the federal government needs a search warrant only for “unopened” e-mail, according to the Department of Justice’s manual for electronic searches. The rest requires only a subpoena.

The article goes on to explore alternatives that might enhance security.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2012/11/trying-to-keep-your-e-mails-secret-when-the-cia-chief-couldnt.html

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