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Petraeus case shows ease of government email snooping

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Joseph Menn
Reuters
Nov 17, 2012

The scandal surrounding the sudden resignation of an adulterous CIA director has stunned the American public not just for its prominent cast of characters, but also because of the ease with which authorities appeared to have traipsed through personal email accounts.

Technology has transformed communications much faster than the law, giving U.S. authorities at all levels the power to routinely search reams of intimate emails, texts and instant messages, with much lower burdens of proof as far as the relevance to a criminal case.

Often, the subjects of electronic searches never know that they’ve been hit, let alone why.

Recently, big tech companies including Google Inc and Facebook Inc are pushing back, refusing to disclose even old communications without a warrant and effectively daring the government to press its policy in court.

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This article was posted: Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 5:56 am





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