Saturday, September 04, 2004

Civil liberties groups side with U.S. prosecutors in e-mail privacy case

How Appealing has this post with links to articles about the federal government's petition for rehearing en banc in the First Circuit case where the court held a criminal defendant accused of reading stored e-mails had not committed a federal crime, and also with a link to an amicus brief filed in the case by advocates for e-mail privacy. In this post, Jerry Lawson has a link to this Wired news article on the case.

The summary of argument from the amicus brief is this:

"This case has repercussions far beyond a single criminal prosecution. The panel opinion effectively rewrites the field of Internet surveillance law in ways that no one in Congress ever imagined. As the New York Times editorial on the case demonstrates, the panel opinion has dramatic and disturbing implications for Internet privacy. The opinion also raises profound constitutional questions by unhinging the Wiretap Act from the Fourth Amendment decision it codifies, Berger v. New York, 388 U.S. 41 (1967). The panel’s statutory construction may render portions of the Internet surveillance statutes facially unconstitutional. The petition for rehearing or rehearing en banc should be granted."

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