South Carolina Supreme Court Rules That Webmail Isn't Protected by 1986 Privacy

  • 3 Replies
  • 712 Views
*

Offline Bugbatter

  • Microsoft® MVP
  • Administrator
  • Diamond Member
  • 10660
Confusion over an outdated privacy law leaves webmail users with questionable legal protection.

Last Wednesday, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that one woman's deliberate (and successful) attempts to break into her husband's Yahoo Mail account to prove his infidelity do not violate the Stored Communications Act (SCA) of 1986. While the justices were quick to establish that they do not condone her behavior, they found that webmail services like Gmail and Outlook.com cannot be classified as "electronic storage," and thus are not granted protection under the SCA.

Continued:
http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/13/3499442/south-carolina-supreme-court-1986-privacy-act

Microsoft MVP Consumer Security 2006-2016
Microsoft Windows Insider MVP 2016-

*

Offline Hoov

  • Malware Removal Mentors
  • Administrator
  • Diamond Member
  • 27191
  • Unwilling part owner of Gov't. Motors and Chrysler
    • Hoov's Personal Site
If the husband has enough money to take it further, I am sure SCOTUS will change that.

Former Consumer Security MVP
2011-2014

If I am helping you and you don't hear from me for 24Hrs, send me a PM Please!

*

Offline 1972vet

  • Microsoft® MVP
  • Malware Removal Staff
  • Diamond Member
  • 8290
  • Patience is bitter indeed, but its fruit is sweet.
Email is probably the least protected type of communication there is. The ruling doesn't surprise me. I believe your wireless phone conversations have greater privacy protection.

Having to pass through several computers and being stored on ISP servers, it's easy to understand how any particular email can have a diminished degree of expectation for privacy. I believe it's that level of expectation that the courts lean on.

Can you reasonably expect privacy? If so, you're protected...if not, you're on your own. For example, it's perfectly legal to watch T.V. naked while sitting in your living room. However, your level of expectation of privacy is diminished if you're in your living room at night, with the interior lights on, and no curtains at your window. In that case, your friendly local Police Department may be paying you a visit. :a
Disabled Veteran
U.S.C.G. 1972 - 1978
Membership: U.N.I.T.E., A.S.A.P.

2009-13

Performance and Maintenance for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows Seven

*

Offline Hoov

  • Malware Removal Mentors
  • Administrator
  • Diamond Member
  • 27191
  • Unwilling part owner of Gov't. Motors and Chrysler
    • Hoov's Personal Site
True. If you really need private e-mail, then you need to get familiar with pgp and e-mail clients and not web mail.

Former Consumer Security MVP
2011-2014

If I am helping you and you don't hear from me for 24Hrs, send me a PM Please!