Most e-mail users would be surprised at how weak protections are over government access to their messages. With vast storage capacities, the typical Internet service provider holds years of mail detailing a person's life.
Yet e-mail stored more than 180 days can be disclosed under a subpoena without the subscriber even being notified, warns the Center for Democracy and Technology, a non-profit public interest group in Washington D.C. The CTD has just completed a 47-page report (1.3 MB PDF file) that analyzes the dismal state of digital privacy protection and makes policy recommendations.
The conclusion: the U.S. legal system is not prepared for the assault on privacy made possible by new technologies such as expanded e-mail storage, location-based devices that reveal whereabouts at any given time, and keystroke loggers that can secretly record all information typed into a computer.
Kinda makes you long for the stone age.