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Thursday, 11 April 2013 07:54

US taxman can do what it likes

Written by Nick Farrell



Can read your email without a warrant

The US taxman has stunned America by telling the “Land of the Free” that it can read anyone’s e-mail without a warrant.

According to an internal Internal Revenue Service document which has been leaked to the press, that say Americans enjoy "generally no privacy" in their e-mail messages, Facebook chats, and other electronic communications. This means that really looking at email is no big deal. It continues to insist on warrantless e-mail access, internal documents obtained by the ACLU show, even after a federal appeals court said the Fourth Amendment applied.

However it is fairly clear that the Internal Revenue Service doesn't believe it needs a search warrant to read US people’s e-mail. An IRS 2009 Search Warrant Handbook obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union argues that "emails and other transmissions generally lose their reasonable expectation of privacy and thus their Fourth Amendment protection once they have been sent from an individual's computer."

It seems that the IRS continued to take the same position, the documents indicate, even after a federal appeals court ruled in the 2010 case U.S. v. Warshak that Americans have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their e-mail.

Nick Farrell

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