Slashdot had an interesting link to a post about the IRS and their rather disturbing insistence that reading people’s email doesn’t require a warrant.
It seems the ACLU has requested information via the FOIA because the IRS asserts that it can and will continue to make warrantless requests to ISPs to track down tax evasion.
Apparently the outdated Electronic Communication Protection Act allows federal agencies to request and read any email that is over 180 days old. Even more startling is the IRS assertion that the fourth amendment doesn’t apply to email at all.
In fact as recently as 2009, the IRS has claimed that there is no expectation of privacy for emails, and in 2010, asserted that email stored on a server is fair game.
Is the IRS reading my email or yours? Probably not. But it’s disturbing to know that they can and think it’s within their rights to do it if they want to.