IRS has Carte Blanche to Your Private Emails

Jasmina Lozevska April 11, 2013 0


ACLU has revealed some internal documents that say all the Americans have no privacy in their Facebook chat data, e-mail messages and some other internet communication tools. According to this, IRS has claimed they can read your e-mails without a warrant. We knew that we are under pressure in our privacy but this?

These documents, prepared by some IRS lawyers say that they can peruse your private messages or e-mails without a warrant which is normally signed by a judge. This has placed the IRS right between those legislators and many judges who believe that all the Americans who use e-mails for private conversation should be protected by any means from this kind of search without warrant and by the same standards of the Fourth Amendment privacy. These standards require at least search warrant for the user’s hard drives at home or some kind of physical letter filled in a cabinet.

A Search Warrant Handbook which is obtained by the ACLU for IRS in 2009 argues that email messages and other kinds of transmissions have lost the expectation of privacy and with this the Fourth Amendment protection is lost also in the process. A Criminal tax division placed by the Office of Chief Counsel has created this handbook at first place and it was obtained by Freedom of Information Act.

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Nathan Wessler who is an attorney at ACLU said that all this violates the Fourth Amendment. He added that he truly hopes you will not be on the wrong end by some IRS tax investigation. And he warns that if you find yourself there, IRS would without any warrant violate the Fourth Amendment and without any warrant will search through your emails and other private messages.

Earlier in March, 2011 an update to the manual of IRS which was published four months after the decision by Warshak, indicates that nothing was changed back then and all the investigators can access and obtain every which they can find in an account but unopened e-mails or voice messages must be untouched without a warrant.

All the companies like Apple, eBay, Intel, AT&T, Amazon, Microsoft and even Twitter have asked the Congress to make a several updates to the Privacy Act for Electronic Communication from 1986 just to make clear that the law will need a warrant in order to access in private electronic communication.

Back in November, 2012 requirement for an e-mail warrant was approved from a Senate panel. Even last month, a similar legislation was introduced from Zoe Lofgren representative from the Silicon Valley.

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