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(C|Net)   IRS decides, despite court rulings to the contrary, that there is no expectation of privacy in email and they can read yours whenever they want, citizen   (news.cnet.com) divider line 23
    More: Asinine, IRS, expectation of privacy, Zoe Lofgren, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, regulations, voicemail, search and seizure  
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4044 clicks; posted to Politics » on 10 Apr 2013 at 11:29 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2013-04-11 12:45:50 AM  
3 votes:
Well, consider that dimwit Arizona senator who couldn't figure out who was "leaking" the "private" emails he was sending to the media. Or the endless Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: that have virtually become a meme unto themselves. Who gets the subpoena to that email, if the IRS decides it wants "your" email, if your mother's friend's sister's cousin's hairdresser has it attached to an article from Glenn Beck by now?

I'm as genuinely concerned about the abstract assault on our 4th Amendment rights as anyone, here; but in the real world, you need to CYA and sanitize your computer scrupulously, and remember that the Internet never forgets ANYTHING, which is why the IRS is probably going to win on this one. "Expectation of privacy" doesn't mean what you think it means; generally in a legal sense, it means did the person sending the message (letter, phone call, telegram, email) really think that nobody else could intercept the message besides the intended party. It's why your garbage is not considered "private", because once you throw something in the trash, you can't reasonably expect nobody would go through it; whereas a landline phone is considered "private", because you have to reasonably assume nobody can listen in without fairly sophisticated eavesdropping equipment.

So today you can't reasonably assume that when you email someone, that that idiot on the other end is going to delete your message and not Fw Fw Fw Fw it right into the IRS office. Or print it out and leave it on their desk for everyone to see. Just like your Facebook pic of your naked antics in Cancun are not private, or your Tweet to Barack Obama about how you'd like to skin him alive will get you a polite visit from three men in dark suits and sunglasses. Therefore, your email is not subject to a warrant requirement. Now, your computer's hard drive is still subject to a search, so you should be zeroing the thing out if you already don't. And delete your email instead of keeping it around like an idiot. And for the love of god, don't be emailing anything to anyone you don't want haunting you in court.

But you don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy on the Internet. You'd think people would have figured that out by now, but it seems even tech savvy people keep having to relearn it.
2013-04-10 11:42:10 PM  
3 votes:
dookdookdook:
Who's talking about things the IRS would care about in email anyway?

Oh right, big corporations.


...and small corporations.

...and self-employed people

...and people the government doesn't like.

If you're not upset about this, you're an idiot.
2013-04-10 09:12:52 PM  
3 votes:

bronyaur1: There seems to me to be a difference between reading your private emails and chats and reading what you post on Twitter and Facebook.


Not really when it comes to private Facebook chats or Twitter direct messages. And this refers to all three, not public (or even friends-locked) posts or tweets, it's e-mails, Facebook messages (which are like e-mails) and Twitter direct messages.  They were never public, never intended for the public, nor posted to a place that was accessible by anyone but the person or people the message was sent to.  This should absolutely be covered under the 4th amendment.
2013-04-10 10:20:50 PM  
2 votes:

MacEnvy: The handbook is from 2009. The relevant caselaw is from 2010 and after.

Shut up, you pageclick-whoring cocks.


If you had RTFA, you'd see that the March 2011 update included the same information about emails as the 2009 version, as well as an October 2011 memo saying that nothing had changed in light of the decision.
2013-04-10 10:10:54 PM  
2 votes:
The handbook is from 2009. The relevant caselaw is from 2010 and after.

Shut up, you pageclick-whoring cocks.
2013-04-10 08:00:55 PM  
2 votes:
Well, Obama, now it is your move.

I doubt Obama personally knew what the IRS was doing, but now that it is out, he needs to take care of this shiat right away.
2013-04-11 02:57:32 AM  
1 votes:

ongbok: The administer of that site can change your password to what ever they want to access your account


You don't understand how encryption works. They can change my password, but if I lose it and need it reset for example, all my e-mails are gone forever. All the new password does is give me access to my (now empty) account. The system was specifically designed to protect against that possibility.
2013-04-11 02:16:34 AM  
1 votes:

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: Lavbit.com. My e-mail is stored encrypted to my passphrase. I'm more than happy for them to hand over a meaningless string of characters to anyone that wants a copy.


The administer of that site can change your password to what ever they want to access your account. If the government forces them to hand over your email, all they have to do is change your password to access your account to hand over all your emails in clear text.

Your best bet is find somebody who's servers are in a country that doesn't respond to U.S subpoenas or warrants.
2013-04-11 01:53:01 AM  
1 votes:
Might be a good idea to use PGP.
2013-04-11 01:47:34 AM  
1 votes:

Smackledorfer: OgreMagi: BMulligan: OgreMagi: That IRS has made it clear in the past that until the Supreme Court makes a ruling, they are free to ignore lower court rulings.  That is not how our justice system is supposed to work, assholes.

It's exactly how our justice system is supposed to work. Sixth Circuit rulings are only mandatory authority in the Sixth Circuit, and never in Tax Court proceedings. This is covered on, like. the third day of law school.

They have a habit of ignoring citations that would apply to a particular jurisdiction.  They only answer to the Supreme Court and their own tax court.  And their tax court is filled with judges who were formerly IRS agents.

I think BMulligan's point is that this *IS* how our justice system is set up and supposed to work.

As for the complaint about what the judges used to be.... what of it? Do you think there is a conspiratorial situation where IRS agents have some huge personal stake in farking you over and stealing all your monies?  I kind of doubt they get as emotionally invested as all that. It should come as no surprise that people with boatloads of experience in a field wind up judges.


From what I've read, IRS agents are given bonuses and promotions based on how much they recover.  So yes, they do have a huge personal stake in farking people over.
2013-04-11 01:33:05 AM  
1 votes:
*law abiding moocher cat does a four-legged moonwalk through the thread*
2013-04-11 12:57:37 AM  
1 votes:
I have never expected a private entity to whom I give personal information to count as an agent of the government for purposes of the 4th amendment.
2013-04-11 12:57:02 AM  
1 votes:

OgreMagi: That IRS has made it clear in the past that until the Supreme Court makes a ruling, they are free to ignore lower court rulings.  That is not how our justice system is supposed to work, assholes.


It's exactly how our justice system is supposed to work. Sixth Circuit rulings are only mandatory authority in the Sixth Circuit, and never in Tax Court proceedings. This is covered on, like. the third day of law school.
2013-04-11 12:55:33 AM  
1 votes:
They're saying you already have no privacy, not that there is no expectation of privacy. Multiple agencies and corporations are already freely digging through it all, they just didn't make it public by kindly asking the courts first. IRS is really just feeling left out, and went the wrong way about getting what they want.

/Should have slipped Zuck a few million on the DL.
//what, you thought he made trillions with banner ads?
2013-04-11 12:50:06 AM  
1 votes:

fusillade762: Why would the IRS want to read my email? I can't think of a single thing I send via email (or on Facebook, for that matter) that would be relevant to my tax situation.


Then they shouldn't mind having to get a fecking warrant to read your email.
2013-04-11 12:30:44 AM  
1 votes:

BMulligan: Elegy: Isn't this like, a regular thing? It seems like every year there's some "new" story about how the IRS doesn't think judicial rulings apply to them...

The Warshak decision is binding only in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. Furthermore, even in those states, jurisdiction in tax disputes lies exclusively with the Tax Court unless the taxpayer/litigant first pays the demanded tax. In the vast majority of cases, Warshak would be only persuasive authority. Pity, because it's a good opinion, but it's of only limited precedential value at this point.


Finally, someone in here who knows what they're talking about.  The rulings are contradictory and there's no sweeping ruling to refer to.
2013-04-11 12:26:04 AM  
1 votes:
Why is it that so many of the people we hire to protect our civil liberties seem to be unaware of the 4th Amendment?
2013-04-11 12:25:54 AM  
1 votes:
 Honestly I've just assumed since Sept 2001 that any and everything that anyone casually(un encrypted) does over the internet is going to be read or used as a metric in some data collection scheme. Fact is if the technology is there then you can assume it will be used regardless of the laws because laws seem to have become as interpretable as religion. I mean hell I'm in hick town usa and there are cameras at every major intersection and Licence plate identification cameras on the interstate when I go to school so simply collecting un encrypted data flowing over a global network or just telling your isp "Gimmie that and don't talk about it" is pretty low level compared to what's already done as a standard practice.

Hypnozombie
/Just because your paranoid, don't mean they're not after you.
2013-04-11 12:25:23 AM  
1 votes:

BMulligan: skullkrusher: James F. Campbell: If you're really that concerned about it, sign up for HushMail and encourage everyone you know to do so as well.

or we could just invoke the Constitution. Thanks for your input, James.

Yes, but it's not necessarily an easy constitutional call. As a result of generations of questionable Fourth Amendment jurisprudence (thanks, Prohibition/War on Drugs!), the analysis is never as simple as you'd think.


Email should be afforded the same protection that regular mail is given. I don't find "use a different email service" particularly reassuring.
2013-04-11 12:08:23 AM  
1 votes:

Elegy: Isn't this like, a regular thing? It seems like every year there's some "new" story about how the IRS doesn't think judicial rulings apply to them...


The Warshak decision is binding only in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. Furthermore, even in those states, jurisdiction in tax disputes lies exclusively with the Tax Court unless the taxpayer/litigant first pays the demanded tax. In the vast majority of cases, Warshak would be only persuasive authority. Pity, because it's a good opinion, but it's of only limited precedential value at this point.
2013-04-10 11:40:02 PM  
1 votes:
Who's talking about things the IRS would care about in email anyway?

Oh right, big corporations.

Since this affects the only Americans that count, I predict massive outrage over this.

*checks Fox Nation*

Eeyup
2013-04-10 11:39:18 PM  
1 votes:
Lavbit.com. My e-mail is stored encrypted to my passphrase. I'm more than happy for them to hand over a meaningless string of characters to anyone that wants a copy.
2013-04-10 08:20:03 PM  
1 votes:

cman: Well, Obama, now it is your move.

I doubt Obama personally knew what the IRS was doing, but now that it is out, he needs to take care of this shiat right away.


He sprang into action after the courts first started invalidating this a year ago and Congress looked ready to act..

The Obama administration is urging Congress not to adopt legislation that would impose constitutional safeguards on Americans' e-mail stored in the cloud.
 
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