July 2, 2004 | By Donna Wentworth

NYT on U.S. v. Councilman

The New York Times has an nice editorial on the decision (PDF) in U.S. v. Councilman, arguing that "Congress ought to update the law to make it clear that email is entitled to the same protection as a phone call."

Precisely.

Snippet:

When you click on "send" to deliver that email note to your lover, mother or boss, you realize that you are not communicating directly with that person. As you well know, you have stored the email on the computer of your Internet service provider, which, as you also know, may read, copy and use the note for its own purposes before sending it on.

What, you didn't know all this? Sounds ludicrous? We would have thought so, too, but a federal appeals court recently ruled that companies providing email services could read clients' email notes and use them as they wish. Part of its rationale was that none of this would shock you because you have never expected much online privacy.

Count us among the shocked.


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