ACLU lawyer Catherine Crump, who ran the cellphone location data investigation, is at it again. This time, she has filed similar Freedom of Information Act requests with several federal agencies, asking about their policies and legal processes for reading Internet users' emails.
"It's high time we know what's going on," Crump told msnbc.com. "It's been clear since the 1870s that the government needs a warrant to read postal mail. There's no good reason email should be treated differently."
There are hints that it is being treated differently, however. In a landmark 2010 case, United States v. Warshak, government investigators acknowledged that they read 27,000 emails without obtaining a search warrant, violating both the suspect's privacy and the privacy of everyone who communicated with the suspect, according to Crump.
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Is the US government reading your email without a warrant?
The ACLU is trying to find out and the deadline for providing a response is quickly approaching. During the Bush years, many suspected that it was a Republican obsession with hating privacy but sadly it's a political class and government problem and likely a lot more widespread than any of us would like.