Yahoo is making a brave stand against the spying American Government
The search giant is asking a federal court to block a government attempt to access the contents of a Yahoo email account without a search warrant based on probable cause.
The Department of Justice is seeking the emails as part of a case that is under seal, and the account holder has apparently not been notified of the request. The Government in the past fought off the need for a warrant claiming that because the Yahoo email has been accessed by the user, it is no longer in "electronic storage" under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) and therefore does not require a warrant.
However this theory has already been kicked out by the first court to address this debate.
Yahoo has been backed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) along with Google and numerous other public interest organisations and Internet industry associations. All parties have said they will support the search engine's fight when it goes before a federal magistrate judge in Denver.
Yahoo will arguethat the SCA and Fourth Amendment require the government to get a search warrant before forcing it to disclose the email.
Kevin Bankston, EFF Senior Staff Attorney, said: "The government is trying to evade federal privacy law and the Constitution.
"The Fourth Amendment protects these stored emails, just like it does our private papers. We all have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of our email accounts, and the government should have to make a showing of probable cause to a judge before it rifles through our private communications."
Whatever next? Postman being mugged to obtain people's mail?