Yesterday, Microsoft won a huge case against government surveillance, a case with very important implications: In the Matter of a Warrant to Search a Certain E‐Mail Account Controlled and Maintained by Microsoft Corporation.
All posts in ECPA
By Daniel J. Solove
Next year, there will be a milestone birthday for the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) – the primary federal law that regulates how the government and private parties can monitor people’s Internet use, wiretap their communications, peruse their email, gain access to their files, and much more.
This is no ordinary birthday for ECPA. In 2016, ECPA turns 30. Little did anyone think that in 1986, when ECPA was passed, that it would still remain largely unchanged for 30 years. In 1986, the Cloud was just something in the sky. The Web was what a spider made.
By Daniel J. Solove
The law regulating government surveillance and information gathering is in dire need of reform. This law, which consists of the Fourth Amendment and several statutes, was created largely in the 1970s and 1980s and has become woefully outdated. The result is that law enforcement officials and intelligence agencies can readily find ways to sidestep oversight and protections when engaging in surveillance and data collection.
by Daniel J. Solove
This post is co-authored with Professor Paul M. Schwartz.
This post is part of a post series where we round up some of the interesting news and resources we’re finding. For a PDF version of this post, and for archived issues of previous posts, click here.
We became quite busy after the last update, so we’re a bit backlogged. We are catching up on developments late last year and we have a lot of material. We will release the next issue soon, as there is too much material to fit into this issue.
For a PDF version of this post, click here.
As many of the recent revelations of government surveillance and information gathering are revealing, government agencies such as the FBI and NSA are violating the law. Recently, the DOJ investigation into the FBI’s use of NSLs reveals many violations of law. So where are the penalties?
In the latest surveillance scandal, the FBI says that it is sorry. According to the New York Times:
From the New York Times:
The Pentagon and to a lesser extent the CIA have been using a little-known power to look at the banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage within the United States, officials said Saturday.
The C.I.A. has also been issuing what are known as national security letters to gain access to financial records from American companies, though it has done so only rarely, intelligence officials say.
Recently, New York AG Eliot Spitzer settled a case against Datran Media that could have some wide-ranging implications for information privacy law. Datran Media styles itself “a leading performance-based marketing company with Enabling Technology that connects marketers to consumers through a comprehensive set of email marketing and digital media services.” This is basically a verbose way of saying that it sends unsolicited email, which is perhaps a kind way of describing spam.
Datran obtained personal information from other companies which violated their privacy policies in selling the data to Datran. According to the AP:
Brian Bergstein writes in an AP article about the issue of law enforcement surveillance and technology:
With each new advance in communications, the government wants the same level of snooping power that authorities have exercised over phone conversations for a century. Technologists recoil, accusing the government of micromanaging — and potentially limiting — innovation.
Today, this tug of war is playing out over the Federal Communications Commission’s demands that a phone-wiretapping law be extended to voice-over-Internet services and broadband networks.
Opponents are trying to block the ruling on various grounds: that it goes beyond the original scope of the law, that it will force network owners to make complicated changes at their own expense, or that it will have questionable value in improving security.
No matter who wins the battle over this law — the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, known as CALEA — this probably won’t be the last time authorities raise hackles by seeking a bird’s eye view over the freewheeling information flow created by new technology.