The lead plenary session at our Media Law in the Digital Age Conference on Oct. 22, 2011 is about the effects WikiLeaks will have on freedom of information and freedom of the press. Now we’ll have to add the freedom to protect your Gmail data from government interception.
Gmail users got a hefty dose of reality today when it was revealed that Google handed over one user’s private data to the U.S. government, who requested it without a search warrant.
The contacts list and IP address data of Jacob Applebaum, a WikiLeaks volunteer and developer for Tor was given to the U.S. government after they requested it using a secret court order enabled by a controversial 1986 law called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, according to the Wall Street Journal. The law allows the government to demand information from ISPs not only without a warrant, but without ever notifying the user.
And there is more troubling news:
According to the company’s own Transparency Report, Google received 4,601 user data requests from the U.S. government in the second half of 2010, and it complied with 94% of them. Those requests include warrantless inquiries as well as those accompanied by a search warrant.
Read the whole ReadWriteWeb story here.