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Thread: IRS: We can read emails without warrant

  1. -1
    Dolphins9954's Avatar
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    IRS: We can read emails without warrant

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has claimed that agents do not need warrants to read people's emails, text messages and other private electronic communications, according to internal agency documents.

    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request, released the information on Wednesday.

    In a 2009 handbook, the IRS said the Fourth Amendment does not protect emails because Internet users "do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications." A 2010 presentation by the IRS Office of General Counsel reiterated the policy.Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986, government officials only need a subpoena, issued without a judge's approval, to read emails that have been opened or that are more than 180 days old.

    Privacy groups such as the ACLU argue that the Fourth Amendment provides greater privacy protections than the ECPA, and that officials should need a warrant to access all emails and other private messages.

    Traditionally, the courts have ruled that people have limited privacy rights over information they share with third parties. Some law enforcement groups have argued that this means they only need a subpoena to compel email providers, Internet service companies and others to turn over their customers' sensitive content.

    But in 2010, a federal appeals court ruled that police violated a man's constitutional rights when they read his emails without a warrant.

    Despite the court decision, U.S. v. Warshak, the IRS kept its email search policy unchanged in a March 2011 update to its employee manual, according to the ACLU.
    In an October 2011 memo obtained by the ACLU, an IRS attorney explained that the Warshak decision only applies in the Sixth Circuit, which covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

    But the attorney noted that if a service provider fought the search request, it would likely result in "protracted litigation," meaning that any leads from the emails would be "stale" if the IRS ever obtained them.

    The IRS did not respond to a request to comment.

    The ACLU also submitted requests for documents from the FBI and the Justice Department on their policies for emails searches, but has not received responses yet.

    Lawmakers in both chambers are working on legislation that would update the ECPA to require a warrant for emails and other private online messages.

    At a hearing last month, Elana Tyrangiel, the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy, agreed that there is "no principled basis" for treating emails differently depending on how old they are.
    http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-va...hout-a-warrant


    We don't need no stinking warrants!!!!!

    One of the biggest tragedies of this country has been the total decimation of our 4th amendment rights.





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    If you pay your taxes, you will be fine.
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    Harry_Bagpipe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeathStar View Post
    If you pay your taxes, you will be fine.
    Derp. That's like the guy who has no problems with cops illegally searching your car or premises and the rationale behind it being, well if you're not doing anything wrong, there's nothing to worry about.
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    Dolphins9954's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeathStar View Post
    If you pay your taxes, you will be fine.
    Or I have 4th amendment rights that the government can never take away from me ie. Bill of Rights. "If you got nothing to hide" is the biggest BS cop-out there is.
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    spydertl79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeathStar View Post
    If you pay your taxes, you will be fine.
    This runs so much deeper that that. Giving any agency, governmental or otherwise, legal authority to search through personal emails is wrong.

    Does this ruling mean that virtual property will be treated completely differently than physical property in the law? Does the 4th amendment only apply to physical property?
    "As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand."
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    MadDog 88's Avatar
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    A 20% flat tax abolishes the IRS. Imagine eliminating that mess.
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    Valandui's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadDog 88 View Post
    A 20% flat tax abolishes the IRS. Imagine eliminating that mess.
    Or just dump the IRS and the income tax as both are unconstitutional anyway.

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    jared81's Avatar
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    Nevermind Death Star, he supports any government organization because Obama is president.
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    NY8123's Avatar
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    And people wonder why I defend my rights so vehemently. It doesn't matter if it is the right to free speech, the right to bare arms, protection against improper search and seizure it is all being chipped away and frankly more people than not are tired of it, at least the ones I talk too anyway and it seems to be independent of party alliance too.

    People are just feed up with this seedy behind the scenes big brother bull****.
    "I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally" ~ W.C. Fields

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