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

The clock is ticking on Section 215 sunset, but the Senate is in stalemate on NSA spying powers: https://eff.org/r.tpwa

May 22 @ 10:58pm

BREAKING: At the behest of @SenateMajLdr, the Senate will meet Sunday, May 31st in the afternoon, mere hours before Section 215 expires.

May 22 @ 10:20pm

BREAKING: Senator Rand Paul objecting to even one more day of extending Section 215.

May 22 @ 10:08pm
JavaScript license information