How Much Protection from Search and Seizure Does Your Email Have?

Does the government need a search warrant, requiring a showing of probable cause, in order to read your email—as it would if it wanted to read a physical letter? Not if the email has been “in electronic storage” for more than 180 days, under the 1986 Stored Communications Act (18 U.S.C. Section 2703). The Stored Communications Act (SCA) is Title II of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).  In contrast, that same Act states that Continue Reading →

A Legal Setback for Net Neutrality Advocates

On Tuesday April 6th, a three-judge panel from the federal appeals bench ruled that the Federal Communications Commission has no authority to place “net neutrality” requirements on Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The unanimous ruling overturned the FCC’s August 2008 order for Comcast to cease slowing BitTorrent transfers. Comcast later voluntarily changed its own policy and agreed to treat BitTorrent traffic no differently from other traffic. However, the issue of the FCC’s legal authority still remained, Continue Reading →

U.S. Senate Subcommittee Examines American Companies’ Compliance With Censorship Abroad

Ever since Google’s recent announcement that it would no longer comply with China’s requirements for censored search results, U.S. companies doing business in China have come under increased scrutiny from human rights groups and American lawmakers, the New York Times reports. This scrutiny is directed at the companies’ compliance with internet censorship demands from the Chinese and other governments. Among the companies targeted for criticism are Google, Amazon, McAfee, Yahoo, eBay, Microsoft, Apple and Verizon. Continue Reading →

Google Buzz: A Recap of the Controversy and the Current Legal Issues

Google’s launch last week of Buzz, its social networking tool for Gmail, raised a furor over its privacy effects. As the New York Times reports, many Gmail users were outraged that their Gmail address books were turned into a public contact list, viewable to everyone in their address books, in Buzz.  Furthermore, Buzz is opt-out rather than opt-in. Google automatically enrolled all Gmail users into Buzz without notice or opportunity to decline enrollment. This ill-starred Continue Reading →

RIAA File-Sharing Suit Will Go To A Third Trial

The RIAA’s suit against Jammie Thomas-Rasset for sharing music files looks like it is headed for a third trial. In order to avoid this trial, Thomas-Rasset would have to accept the settlement offered by the RIAA. Her lawyers have stated that she will not accept it, reports Wired, making another trial likely.  The lawsuit has attracted critical attention because of the massive damages awarded in two earlier trials, and because it is part of a Continue Reading →

The ACTA – It’s Top-Secret, It’s Controversial, And It Could Change The Face Of Copyright Enforcement

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) made the news again last Friday, after the Motion Picture Association of America sent a memo to the Senate Judiciary Committee affirming its support of the treaty. The MPAA condemned the opposition’s “strident attacks” and accused it of an irrational hatred of the entertainment industry. The memo comes shortly after the 6th round of ACTA negotiations that took place earlier this month. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement ACTA is a proposed Continue Reading →