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Email Privacy Issues

April 29, 2016

I while back I wrote a post that mentioned an old law and some considerations for email handling if you are at all concerned about privacy for you and your business.  You can review that post here.

I ran across an item today that indicates others are also interested in this issue perhaps will change the perspective on this in the future.  You can read the Ars Technica article here.  Basically, what it comes down to is that apparently the government folks have noticed that if you use a cloud-based email service that your privacy rights today are far less than they are if you have your own email server.  Removing the ability for law enforcement and civil discovery to access your emails without a search warrant or subpoena is the subject of a new law that has passed the House of Representatives.

However, this doesn’t mean anything has changed yet.  The bill still needs to be passed by the Senate and signed by the President.  In today’s climate it is uncertain if this is going to happen or happen anytime soon.

For now, if you have any reason to be concerned that emails might be accessed as part of civil discovery or by law enforcement you should not rely on cloud email services.  The difference between Gmail and your own email server is still that it takes a lot more effort and court approvals to get email from your own server.  Email sitting on Gmail or other services after six months has zero protection currently and is open to “fishing expeditions”.

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