July 12, 2004 | By Donna Wentworth

On Email Privacy - How Dead Is It?

Three good pieces on the state of email privacy post-U.S. v. Councilman and the need for an update to "wiretap" laws including the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA):

StarTribune.com: "Until Congress updates the laws it wrote when email was still in infancy, users ought to pause before clicking the send button and consider how their words might read in the context of an investigative file."

Indianapolis Star (reg. req.): "Although most Internet email providers have privacy policies that bar such conduct, the ruling opens the door for abuses, varying from government snooping of email to a proposal being considered by Google to electronically scan the content of its customers' email messages in order to send them selective advertising."

Doug Isenberg @ GigaLaw: "[Customers] of the big three ISPs [MSN, Earthlink, AOL] should not have any confidence that their email accounts are entirely private. These policies certainly don't forbid the ISPs from monitoring email; indeed, the policies seem to do just the opposite: They expressly permit the ISPs to do [so]."

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