Email Privacy (Some Restrictions May Apply)

Brad Templeton–who works for the EFF, an electronic privacy group, and who also has close personal ties with Google management–has a very thorough look at some of the privacy issues surrounding the G-mail service currently being tested by Google. One of the tidbits of information I found most interesting is a privacy rule that already exists, a “180 day rule” for e-mail archived on 3rd party servers:

In the hoped-for event that your webmail archives are protected by the ECPA [Electronic Communications Privacy Act] as what it calls an ECS, they lose some of that protection after 180 days. This is not news, but a product like GMail, which encourages long-term archving of e-mail with the web mail provider brings the question to the forefront. After 180 days your e-mail archives can now be fetched without a warrant, through a special ECPA court order or a subpoena. (In most cases, but not all, you will get notice of such seizures.)

Food for thought.

(via Blogdex Link Diffusion)