At Least They Have A Warrant: Federal Judge Grants Full Access To Gmail User's Account For US Prosecutors

Generally speaking, you have a right to privacy when it comes to your email account, except when you're accused of a crime and there's a warrant. That's basically what a New York judge ruled when he upheld a previous order giving the U.S. government full access to the Gmail account of a suspect in a money laundering investigation.

At issue here is a controversial warrant granted on June 11 that permitted law enforcement to siphon a suspect's entire Gmail account, including his address book and draft emails, in order to search the emails for evidence in his alleged crime.

Though the warrant has been upheld, it remains controversial since it's at odds with decisions in several other courts, Info World reports. For example, a court in Kansas struck down a similar warrant because it failed to "limit the universe of electronic communications and information to be turned over to the government to the specific crimes being investigated."


Nevertheless, Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York likened the seizure of email accounts to that of storage devices in which it wouldn't be practical to perform an on-site search.

"We perceive no constitutionally significant difference between the searches of hard drives just discussed and searches of email accounts," the judge wrote. "Indeed, in many cases, the data in an email account will be less expansive than the information that is typically contained on a hard drive."

In another case, the District Court of Columbia gave the government the option of having the email host search the emails for the evidence it was looking for. Judge Gorenstein addressed such a proposition, noting that Google's employees aren't trained in investigating emails for crime. Whereas a detective might recognize a seemingly innocuous reference to "dolls" as being code for "cocaine," a Google employee would skip right over it.
Via:  InfoWorld
Rosec14 4 months ago

I know that people are going to go bonkers over this, but honestly, I don't mind, and would even say I'm in support of it. An agency with a warrant can take a hard drive, which can contain terabytes of information, so I don't see why it's so offensive to have them search the megabytes of words on your email account.

acarzt 4 months ago

Sounds like they did the right thing. He committed a crime, they went through the legal system to obtain a warrant to obtain evidence. In my mind, it's the same thing as getting a warrant to search someone's house,

JamesHostick 4 months ago

Supreme Court needs to overrule this crap. Seriously.

AtomicCow 4 months ago

Does the search also pertain to things in the spam folder? There are tons of unread shit in there, how can someone justify if those were read and not simply moved there either automatically or after seeing it was spam after clicking on it?

ThomasTaege 4 months ago

With obtaining a warrant properly I feel like this is perfectly acceptable. If there's enough evidence against you to "warrant" a warrant then any property should be allowed to searched including digital property. In order to allow the freedom to use computers to their full potential they need to be somewhat regulated to keep order and avoid chaos. Committing a crime using technology shouldn't make it easier to get away with it. If you're uncomfortable having your computer searched then you probably deserve to have your computer searched. If you haven't done anything wrong then what's the big deal?

ScottSmith 4 months ago

Privacy? Never heard of it. Lol

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