Computer eMail and Privacy

Computer eMail and Privacy - COMPUTER ELECTRONIC MAIL AND...

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COMPUTER ELECTRONIC MAIL AND PRIVACY ==================================== by Ruel T. Hernandez 801 Cedarbend Way Chula Vista, California 92010 (619) 421-6517 (voice) (CompuServe: 71450,3341) (GEnie Mail: R.HERNANDEZ) January 11, 1987 Copyright (c) 1986, 1987 by Ruel T. Hernandez (This is an edited version of a law school seminar paper I wrote at California Western School of Law. A another version of the paper, entitled "Electronic Mail - Your Right to Privacy," by Ruel T. Hernandez as told to Dan Gookin, was published as the cover story in The Byte Buyer, San Diego's Microcomputer Magazine, volume 4, number 24, December 5, 1986. That version may also be found on their BBS at 619/226-3304 or 619/573-0359. Note, citations to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 refer to the final version passed by the House of Representatives on October 2, 1986, which was passed by the Senate the day before, as listed in the Congressional Record.) INTRODUCTION Two years ago, legislation was introduced into Congress that sought to provide federal statutory guidelines for privacy protection of computer communications, such as electronic mail found on commercial computer systems and on remote computer systems, commonly known as bulletin board systems (BBS). Old federal wiretap law only gave protection to normal audio telephonic communications. There was no contemplation of computers or their operators using telephone lines to communicate. The old federal wiretap law regulated police interceptions of communications while they are being transmitted on a telephone line. Before the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1976, the law did not provide guidelines for protecting the transmitted message once it was stored within a computer system. QUESTIONS (1) Whether electronic mail and other intended private material stored within an electronic computer communication system have Fourth Amendment privacy protection? (2) Should private electronic mail and other such material be accorded the protection guidelines as with telephone communication and the U.S. Mail? PROBLEM Law enforcement seeks criminal evidence stored as E-Mail on either a local, user-supported BBS, or on a commercial computer service, such as CompuServe, GEnie or The Source. (Note, this situation is equally applicable to personal, private data stored on a remote system for later
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retrieval, as with CompuServe's online disk storage capabilities.) For instance, a computer user calls up a computer communication system. Using the electronic mail function, he leaves a private message that can only be read by an intended recipient. The message is to inform the recipient of a conspiracy plan to violate a federal or state criminal statute. Law enforcement gets a tip about the criminal activity and learn that incriminating evidence may be found on the computer system.
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This note was uploaded on 01/14/2012 for the course COMPUTER S 170 - Intr taught by Professor Tedpawlicki during the Fall '11 term at Rochester.

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Computer eMail and Privacy - COMPUTER ELECTRONIC MAIL AND...

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