Neighbor’s good deed deserves notePublished 11:00pm Friday, March 1, 2013
As I was about to leave work this afternoon I received a brief text from my wife. “Are you missing a $100 bill?”, she asked. While I wasn’t missing any cash, I was quite intrigued.
When I arrived at home about five minutes later (I love Troy’s short commutes!) she explaned that our new neighbor, Alex had stopped by with his mom. It seems Alex had found the bill in his yard and wanted to make sure it that it didn’t belong to us.
I walked across the street and had the pleasure of meeting Alex, his mom and his siblings. We are proud to have this delightful family as neighbors.
Are your email messages really private? Maybe not
Be careful the next email you send: someone could be reading every one-LEGALLY!
I am sure most Americans like myself, have been lulled into a false sense of security just assuming that our Constitution grants us adequate protection from unreasonable searches when it come to our private communication and papers. Just this week, Google, the Internet giant-boasting to be the world’s largest email provider with 423 million accounts, acknowledged that it routinely allows local, state and the federal governments access to copies of your private emails! In 2012 alone, Google said that it received 13,943 governmental requests for email access involving 31,072 email accounts. Google’s further acknowledges that it archives EVERY email passing through its system-personal and corporate.
I know, this initially may infuriate the reader. Yet, as I researched the issue and studied Google’s explanation, I realized that such a policy is legal. A person’s communication and documents in his possession are protected and to gain access, any agency must show “probable cause” and secure a search warrant to seize or even read such communication.
Here is the catch: Internet emails are not in the possession of the sender or receiver, but always stored at a distant location in the actual possession of their Internet Service Provider (ISP).. Consequently, emails do not have protection from open access. An excellent comparison is your sack of personal garbage. Until placed on the curb on garbage Per Se, the contents are protected and require a warrant for access.
Yet, when placed outside the residence contents are in the public domain and your local police can legally rummage through your garbage at will-without providing any probable cause.
This may further surprise you. The authority for the government to take a peep at your most private emails was initiated by the Republicans under the Electronic Privacy Communication Act of 1986 and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.
Food for thought: Next time you send or receive an email, consider its content potentially open to the public.
James W. Anderson