July 6, 2004 | By Donna Wentworth

It's the Entire Body of Law, Stupid

Elizabeth Rader of Stanford's Center for Internet & Society offers a rebuttal to the news reports that over-simplify the decision in U.S. v. Councilman:

The news spin seems to be that the court found it completely legal for an ISP owner to read his customers' emails because they were on his system. But that's not what the court decided. The court simply held that the defendant was not criminally liable of a very specific federal criminal charge -- wiretapping -- because he didn't "intercept" anything as that term is properly construed in the wiretap statute. [...]

The law seems to be out of synch with consumers' intuition about what they should expect when they open an email account. but it isn't the wiretap law that's out of synch, it's the whole body of law that places too much importance on where data travels and is stored and not enough on what kind of data it is and who wrote it and why.


Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Join EFF staffers at a semi-secret location in Portland, OR this Thursday night! https://www.eff.org/event/mem...

May 24 @ 5:13pm

We're looking for a new software developer. Please apply now to join our team. https://www.eff.org/opportuni...

May 24 @ 12:49pm

EFF is part of a coalition calling for Congress to pass the OPEN Government Data Act. Read our joint letter. http://www2.datainnovation.or...

May 24 @ 11:19am
JavaScript license information