Google Fails to Block Email Search Warrant
A US court has ordered Google to hand over emails that it stores on computers in another country. That's a contrast to a previous ruling involving Microsoft, and highlights the complexity of applying national laws to Internet issues.
The case involves an FBI search warrant that applies to a criminal suspect. Google had refused to comply with the warrant on two grounds: that there wasn't enough evidence for a seizure to overcome the restrictions placed by the constitution, and that the emails were physically stored outside of the US and thus couldn't be covered by a domestic warrant.
Email Search Not Classed as 'Seizure'
A federal court rejected both arguments.
Judge Thomas Rueter said the FBI getting hold of the emails would not count as a seizure because "there is no meaningful interference" with the person's "possessory interest" in the data. In other words, the fact that the FBI could see the emails wouldn't stop the suspect continuing to "possess" the data themselves. (Source: reuters.com)
Rueter also noted that Google regularly moves the physical location of customer emails from one place to another without it being a legal issue for the customer.
On the second point, in which Google noted that the emails were stored outside the US - Rueter ruled that the location issue wasn't relevant because when the FBI views the emails, the "search" will take place in the US, and thus domestic law applies.
Microsoft Received Opposing Verdict
The ruling is something of a surprise, as an appeals court previously threw out a similar court order on Microsoft involving emails it had physically stored on a server in the Republic of Ireland.
One possible reason for the difference is that Google said in its evidence that the data which makes up a user's email account is sometimes split and stored in different locations to improve performance, which means it's not always simple to say which country particular messages are stored in. (Source: computerworld.com)
In both cases, the confusion is partly because the warrants relied on the Stored Communications Act, which lay down exceptions to the Fourth Amendment when it comes to electronic data. The fourth amendment roughly translates to: "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated." The problem is that the Stored Communications Act was written in 1986, and thus doesn't pay much attention to the possibilities of data moving across national borders, especially in regard to the Internet.
What's Your Opinion?
Do you agree with the court's decision to allow the search order? Should US search orders apply anywhere in the world if both the email provider and the customer are American? Is it time to update the Stored Communications Act to better reflect the modern Internet?
Infopackets Top Windows 10 FAQs
How to Upgrade from Windows 10 32-bit to 64-bit
How to Fix: Windows 10 Antivirus Missing, Not Compatible
How to Fix: Windows 10 Display Shifted; Screen Fuzzy
How to Upgrade Windows 7, 8 32-bit to Windows 10 64-bit
to Downgrade from Windows 10
- How to Fix: Windows 10 Upgrade Failed Error C1900208
- How to Fix: Windows 10 Upgrade Failed Error 80240020
- Can I Cancel my Windows 10 Reservation and Reserve Later?
- How to Clean Install Windows 10 using Windows 7, 8 License
- Will Windows 10 Install Automatically?
- Windows 10 Upgrade: Do I have to Reinstall Programs?
- Windows 10 Upgrade: Can I choose 32-bit or 64-bit?
- Which Version of Windows 10 Will I Get (Home or Pro)?
- How to Reserve Windows 10 Upgrade (Free)
- How to Fix: CPU Not Compatible with Windows 10 Error
- Windows 10 Upgrade: Can I keep my Old Windows Install?
- How to Cancel Windows 10 Reservation (Properly)
- Download Windows 10 .ISO (DVD) for Clean Install?
- Microsoft: Windows 10 Will Be The Last Version
- Does Windows 10 require the CPU to support PAE?
- Windows 10: Can I Upgrade or do I need a Clean Install?
Click here for more Windows 10 articles.