August 10, 2005
Filed under Security & Surveillance
A Federal Appeals Court on Thursday reversed a troubling ruling that prevented the Justice Department from prosecuting an e-mail service provider who allegedly intercepted and read his customers' messages. In the case of United States v. Councilman, the full First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 5-2 to reverse the opinion of a three-judge panel that Bradford Councilman did not violate the law by allegedly copying and reading his customers' e-mail. The ruling reaffirms that e-mail is subject to protection, both against government wiretapping without a warrant and against misuse by service providers, but it fails to answer some key questions and it left in place increasingly outdated aspects of the surveillance laws that are inadequate to protect privacy. Those issues will need to be resolved by Congress.