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Can and should authorities be able to spy on your private emails?

posted 7/12/2008 6:03:12 PM |
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tagged: news, crime, straddle, government
  StraddleMyNose

Can and should authorities be able to spy on your personal emails? I read a story on the front page of the Cincinnati Enquirer today about this case where this man faces up to 20 years defrauding customers of his herbal supplement company, which is Berkely Premium Nutraceuticals. This man who is facing charges (Steve Warshak) has argued that the fraud and money laundering charges against him should be thrown out because the government snooped in his emails for evidence without first obtaining a warrant. The majority of the 6th curcuit court ruled in the government's favor of a 9-5 decision against Warshak.

How do you feel about this? I feel that if anyone who has nothing to hide, why should they mind? With these days and times we live in with the computer age, we have too many terrorists, security risks, and scammers who are a huge threat today.

If anyone is interested in checking out this story in the Cincinnati Enquirer you can do so by going to it's web site which is Cincinnati.Com

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Comments:

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q1b2n3

Jul 12 @ 6:17PM  
If the government suspects something they have the right to go in & check, as far as privacy goes if they are just randomly checking then no..i can see doing that if the person is suspect but only then...
lunanegra

Jul 12 @ 6:20PM  
Can and should authorities be able to spy on your personal emails?


Hell no.The more power they get,the less the common person has.
wtxman

Jul 12 @ 6:27PM  

Documents prove FBI has national eavesdropping program that tracks IMs, emails and cell phones
04/08/2008 @ 9:13 am
Filed by John Byrne



FBI also spies on home soil for military, documents show; Much information acquired without court order

Advertisement
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been routinely monitoring the e-mails, instant messages and cell phone calls of suspects across the United States -- and has done so, in many cases, without the approval of a court.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act and given to the Washington Post -- which stuck the story on page three -- show that the FBI's massive dragnet, connected to the backends of telecommunications carriers, "allows authorized FBI agents and analysts, with point-and-click ease, to receive e-mails, instant messages, cellphone calls and other communications that tell them not only what a suspect is saying, but where he is and where he has been, depending on the wording of a court order or a government directive," the Post says.

But agents don't need a court order to track to track the senders and recipients names, or how long calls or email exchanges lasted. These can be obtained simply by showing it's "relevant" to a probe.

RAW STORY has placed a request to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for the new documents, and will post them upon receipt.

Some transactional data is obtained using National Security Letters. The Justice Department says use of these letters has risen from 8,500 in 2000 to 47,000 in 2005, according to the Post.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union released letters showing that the Pentagon is using the FBI to skirt legal restrictions on domestic surveillance.

Documents show the FBI has obtained the private records of Americans' Internet service providers, financial institutions and telephone companies, for the military, according to more than 1,000 Pentagon documents reviewed by the ACLU -- also using National Security Letters, without a court order.

The new revelations show definitively that telecommunications companies can transfer "with the click of a mouse, instantly transfer key data along a computer circuit to an FBI technology office in Quantico" upon request.

A telecom whistleblower, in an affidavit, has said he help maintain a high-speed DS-3 digital line referred to in house as the "Quantico circuit," which allowed an outside organization "unfettered" access to the the carrier's wireless network.

The network he's speaking of? Verizon.

Verizon denies the allegations vaguely, saying "no government agency has open access to the company's networks through electronic circuits."

The Justice Department downplayed the new documents.

A spokesman told the Post that the US is asking only for "information at the beginning and end of a communication, and for information "reasonably available" by the network.

The FBI's budget for says the collection system increased from $30 million in 2007 to $40 million in 2008, the paper said.

chris801

Jul 12 @ 6:44PM  
in todays world you should expect anything that is written on the computer to be read by someone somewhere,,if you want privacy then stay in your home with windows covered,stay off the computer and phone and only talk to those there with you,it sucks but thats the way it is
Wordsofwit

Jul 12 @ 6:48PM  
A search warrant should be required as there is an expectation of privacy.
sugarnspice005

Jul 12 @ 7:36PM  
If the authorities suspect you are breaking the law..then they should get a warrant before spying on the private emails of people. I have nothing to hide, but, I don't like the idea of someone snooping around in what I feel is private.
NightOfOld

Jul 12 @ 7:58PM  

I agree with Bruce and SugarnSpice
ynot7769

Jul 12 @ 8:54PM  
seems it should fall under same laws as us postal service.............even tho it's faster and more dependable
onehornytoad69

Jul 12 @ 10:41PM  
They have far more Abilities than most of us even could Dream about.. they dont need to do the Email , IM, Phone, snooping crap! If someone is suspect in a Terriorist Act.. makem spend OUR Money!!!! (they will anyway! )
I agree with some of the other PPL here, Get a Warrant!!!
My 2 cents!!!
Good Blog!!!
swyeter

Jul 13 @ 12:17AM  
Can and should authorities be able to spy on your personal emails? NO, at least not without due process of law. People tend to misunderstand that the founding fathers wrote the Constitution to spell out what people can do; actually it's about what the government can do.

It was written to denote the limited rights or powers given to the federal government. To clearly portray that the government had no powers that weren't authorized in the Constitution. Article 1, Section 8 provides a list of what the Constitution says the government can do. Nowhere in it does not say anything about it being able to invade my privacy.

I will not go into the how and why the “Bill of Rights” was established but the original Constitution contained no Bill of Rights, because the Constitution clearly enumerated the few powers the federal government was given. However, since some of the Founding Fathers thought there could be misunderstandings the Bill of Rights was written to clearly spell out what government may not do. One of those rights state:

The government can't search or seize your property without due process of law,

This right of the people was incorporated into the Constitution as the:
IV Amendment - The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Now one can argue the “unreasonable” but I believe it evident that that our founding fathers meant this to mean the government cannot be doing any searches unless it first has “reasonable (probable)” cause that illegal activity was being conducted and obtain a warrant.

Having a phone or computer and e-mail does not mean that someone will use it for illegal activity no more than them having a weapon in their house.

What amazes me about these type conversations is that some individuals think nothing of one of our “rights” being infringed but scream bloody murder if another one is.
BigFlirt

Jul 13 @ 1:53AM  
I agree with Ynot. I concider my e-mail as the same thing as my mail that the USPS delivers to my house. I have nothing to hide, but i do like my privacy. If the Government thinks i am doing wrong then get a warrent.
BigFlirt

Jul 13 @ 2:09AM  
Come to think of it, didn't the Navy do this by forcing AOL to show them private e-mails of a few sailors that they suspected of being gay? And if memory servesme correct the sailors was gay and got kicked out of the Navy. They turned around and filed a law suite against the Navy and won for invasion of privacy. And if memory services me correctly that was the case that started the dont ask dont tell policy.
Wordsofwit

Jul 13 @ 5:08AM  
What amazes me about these type conversations is that some individuals think nothing of one of our “rights” being infringed but scream bloody murder if another one is.

Excellent point, John. The entire comment was dead on actually.
straightup_9

Jul 13 @ 10:02AM  
I think "reasonable cause" should come into play here.....If you are under investigation for wrongdoing, then, YES, they should be allowed to look at anything you put on the net. I think using the net to conduct illegal activities removes any and all expectations of privacy.

However, I do NOT feel that they should have the right to examine e-mails of anyone for the sole purpose of finding some illeagal activity to investigate. In other words, random sampling of net traffic, or specific examination of individual communications when there is no reason to believe this person, or group of persons, has committed, or is committing anything illegal.
Sunshine79

Jul 18 @ 8:08PM  
I don't think it's right. But, then again I have nothing to hide, so go for it.

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Can and should authorities be able to spy on your private emails?