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FORUMS General Discussions Politics FBI may be reading emails without warrant
TOPIC: FBI may be reading emails without warrant
Created by: Nkenswing
Original Starting post for this thread:
The FBI and some U.S. Attorneys' offices around the country may be reading emails without a warrant, according to documents obtained by the ACLU and made public Wednesday.

The documents "paint a troubling picture of the government’s email surveillance practices," wrote Nathan Freed Wessler, attorney with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project.

"Not only does the FBI claim it can read emails and other electronic communications without a warrant — even after a federal appeals court ruled that doing so violates the Fourth Amendment — but the documents strongly suggest that different U.S. Attorneys’ offices around the country are applying conflicting standards to access communications content," he wrote.

The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures.

"The documents we received from the FBI don’t flat out tell us whether FBI agents always get warrants, but they strongly suggest that they don’t."

The ACLU obtained documents from the FBI and U.S. Attorneys' offices via federal Freedom of Information Act requests.

The FBI told NBC News, via an emailed statement, that in "all investigations, the FBI obtains evidence in accordance with the laws and Constitution of the United States, and consistent with Attorney General guidelines."

The bureau's field offices "work closely with U.S. Attorney’s Office to adhere to the legal requirements of their particular districts as set forth in case law or court decisions/precedent."

NBC News also contacted the Department of Justice for comment, and will update this post when we hear back.

Last month, the ACLU shared IRS Criminal Tax Division memos and manuals which indicated the agency is not always following a 2010 appellate court ruling that the government must obtain a warrant before ordering email providers to turn over messages. That information also was obtained through a FOIA request.

In a statement to NBC News then, the IRS did not directly address the ACLU's concerns, but did say "Respecting taxpayer rights and taxpayer privacy are cornerstone principles for the IRS. Our job is to administer the nation's tax laws, and we do so in a way that follows the law and treats taxpayers with respect."

The ACLU said the FBI and U.S. Attorneys' Office documents show "if nothing else" that "federal policy around access to the contents of our electronic communications is in a state of chaos. The FBI, the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, and DOJ Criminal Division should clarify whether they believe warrants are required across the board when accessing people’s email."

The civil liberties organization is also pushing for passage of amendments to the federal Electronics Communication Privacy Act. The act was passed in 1986, before email and the Internet became part of everyday life.

The law, as now written, does not require the government to have a search warrant when requesting access to emails and messages more than 180 days old that are stored online. Such information can be gathered by obtaining a subpoena, which is easier to get than a warrant.

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It might have helped if you started your statement off with something more specific like you ought not expect privacy on the Internet and here is why

Agreed...thus my clarification

Rosemont IL
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Party:

It might have helped if you started your statement off with something more specific like you ought not expect privacy on the Internet and here is why.

Instead you made a blunt statement which is made by those who want a nanny state on the Internet.

While the internet should be for everyone... It's usage by kids ought be watched carefully and parents lock out injectable material.

Case in point, when I was 13 and we first obtained the Internet, there was no sch thing in our home as privacy, no password protected files or accounts. Our parents must be provided every email account we had and the passwords for it.

Punishment for disobedience was both swift and grave.

Hazle Township PA
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To clarify.. when I say there "should be no"..I was not expressing an opinion, I was simply pointing out the current state of the issue....hope that helps

Rosemont IL
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Robert...35 years after it's creation, the Interwebs are still for the most part, undefinable by existing law, and the technology to secure the technology is in it's fetal status.. Unlike snail mail, the phone and personal conversations, you are utilizing a universally accessible venue through the facilities of third, fourth and filth party providers. Trying to get everyone on the same page on TOS would be like herding cats, and trying to plug every leak would be collecting all the rain drops before they hit the ground.

Rosemont IL
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Party:

I will disagree with you. While terrorist and people buying child porn ought be hung, all forms of communications between any party ought be protected. You have no sense of privacy in public places, web forums like this are public, even if that public is limited to paying members.

Email, person to person communication and or private meetings where by you must be invited are that, private. Other wise do away with the protections on mail and phone conversations, you might as well do away with private conversations in the home as well.

Sadly the more you are posting, the more you reinforce the fact that I am the political center.

Hazle Township PA
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There should be NO expectation of privacy in any material transmitted over the interwebs. The security of what you send or receive is solely dependent on YOUR ability to secure and encrypt it, others ability to beat your encryption, and the providers policy on privacy in terms of Governmental or law enforcement quires. That sucks, but the only thing worse would be unabated criminal activity from terrorism to Child pornography

Rosemont IL
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Easy solution. Apply all the standards of paper mail to email.

The only draw back to this might be that they may apply a tax the equivalent to a stamp on to your email and charge a fee which is the equal to fees paid for paper mail. (fee being based upon the paper weight of the email if printed and sent by mail)

Why would they apply this stamp? Because E-mail and text has halved the profits that the post office receives... So in an effort to protecting our emails (which should already be protected) and by applying paper mail protections, you could open the door to the stamp debate... again. (yes, there were debates about taxing emails)

Hazle Township PA
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The FBI and some U.S. Attorneys' offices around the country may be reading emails without a warrant, according to documents obtained by the ACLU and made public Wednesday.

The documents "paint a troubling picture of the government’s email surveillance practices," wrote Nathan Freed Wessler, attorney with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project.

"Not only does the FBI claim it can read emails and other electronic communications without a warrant — even after a federal appeals court ruled that doing so violates the Fourth Amendment — but the documents strongly suggest that different U.S. Attorneys’ offices around the country are applying conflicting standards to access communications content," he wrote.

The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures.

"The documents we received from the FBI don’t flat out tell us whether FBI agents always get warrants, but they strongly suggest that they don’t."

The ACLU obtained documents from the FBI and U.S. Attorneys' offices via federal Freedom of Information Act requests.

The FBI told NBC News, via an emailed statement, that in "all investigations, the FBI obtains evidence in accordance with the laws and Constitution of the United States, and consistent with Attorney General guidelines."

The bureau's field offices "work closely with U.S. Attorney’s Office to adhere to the legal requirements of their particular districts as set forth in case law or court decisions/precedent."

NBC News also contacted the Department of Justice for comment, and will update this post when we hear back.

Last month, the ACLU shared IRS Criminal Tax Division memos and manuals which indicated the agency is not always following a 2010 appellate court ruling that the government must obtain a warrant before ordering email providers to turn over messages. That information also was obtained through a FOIA request.

In a statement to NBC News then, the IRS did not directly address the ACLU's concerns, but did say "Respecting taxpayer rights and taxpayer privacy are cornerstone principles for the IRS. Our job is to administer the nation's tax laws, and we do so in a way that follows the law and treats taxpayers with respect."

The ACLU said the FBI and U.S. Attorneys' Office documents show "if nothing else" that "federal policy around access to the contents of our electronic communications is in a state of chaos. The FBI, the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, and DOJ Criminal Division should clarify whether they believe warrants are required across the board when accessing people’s email."

The civil liberties organization is also pushing for passage of amendments to the federal Electronics Communication Privacy Act. The act was passed in 1986, before email and the Internet became part of everyday life.

The law, as now written, does not require the government to have a search warrant when requesting access to emails and messages more than 180 days old that are stored online. Such information can be gathered by obtaining a subpoena, which is easier to get than a warrant.

Pittsburgh PA
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TOPIC: FBI may be reading emails without warrant