Petraeus case shows FBI's authority to read email

Nov 12, 2012 by Richard Lardner

(AP)—Your emails are not nearly as private as you think.

The downfall of CIA Director David Petraeus demonstrates how easy it is for federal law enforcement agents to examine emails and computer records if they believe a crime was committed. With subpoenas and warrants, the FBI and other investigating agencies routinely gain access to electronic inboxes and information about email accounts offered by , Yahoo and other Internet providers.

Under the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, need only a subpoena approved by a —not a judge—to obtain electronic messages that are six months old or older. To get more recent communications, a warrant from a judge is required. Critics want the law updated to reflect changes in technology.

Explore further: LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Court: Judges can demand warrant for cell locales

Sep 07, 2010

(AP) -- Judges have the right to require warrants before police get cell phone records that could suggest a customer's likely location, a U.S. appeals court ruled Tuesday in a novel electronic privacy case.

FBI access to e-mail, Web data raises privacy fear

Jul 30, 2010

(AP) -- Invasion of privacy in the Internet age. Expanding the reach of law enforcement to snoop on e-mail traffic or on Web surfing. Those are among the criticisms being aimed at the FBI as it tries to update ...

Twitter challenges US subpoena seeking user data

May 08, 2012

Twitter is challenging a court order to turn over to law enforcement data on one of its users involved in Occupy Wall Street in a case described by a civil liberties group as a major test of online freedom ...

Recommended for you

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

Apr 18, 2014

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

Apr 18, 2014

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

White House updating online privacy policy

Apr 18, 2014

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...