SeeMail

Who else reads your e-mail? is an op-ed by my colleague Harry Lewis, in the Christain Science Monitor. At its core is a loophole that’s sort of a peephole:

  The Fourth Amendment states:

  “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, ….”

  You might think that means the government can’t clandestinely search your e-mail, but it doesn’t.

  Suppose you use Gmail or Yahoo! mail. If the government wants to see your e-mail, it can have the warrant served on that company. Of course, the service provider has to respond to the warrant, just as you would if the feds came to your house. The difference is that the company decides whether to resist the court order, not you.

By coincidence today is also the release date for Blown to Bits, Harry’s new book, co-authored with Hal Abelson and Ken Ledeen.

Bonus tune.