Alex Goldman is a producer for On the Media. One time he got run over by a car.
Privacy Show Bonus! The Ease With Which Authorities Can Read Your Email
Sunday, January 06, 2013 - 12:40 PM
When we were looking over our archives for segments to include in this week's special hour on privacy, there were way more segments we wanted to air than time allotted. So I thought I'd throw this interview with Ryan Singel from 2010 up on the blog.
The David Petraeus scandal was the privacy story of the season, and much of the discussion centered around just how vulnerable personal email communications are to government subpoena. Obtaining that information is so easy is because of a law called The Stored Communications Act. The Stored Communications Act lowers the threshold by which law enforcement can obtain information that is stored on the servers of, say, Gmail, Amazon, or anyone you might be using to host data for more than 180 days. But why? Well, for starters, the Stored Communications Act was originally written in 1986. Remember 1986? The Internet as we know it today seemed like science fiction in 1986. We spoke to journalist Ryan Singel about this law way back in 2010.
If you would like to view the map of data requests Google updates on a regular basis, you can find it at google.com/transparencyreport. In the wake of the Petraeus scandal, Senator Patrick Leahy added language to a bill that would *finally* have required a warrant for reading private emails even after 180 days, but the language was quietly dropped from the bill just before its passage last month.