IRS reading your private emails?
I am not a paranoid person. Technology always moves faster than the law. I know the IRS is trying to enforce the collection of taxes because that is their job. The IRS is using data mining and high-tech tools to help do this. If you add these sentences together…
New documents released to the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the IRS Criminal Tax Division has long taken the position that the IRS can read your emails without a warrant. The federal law that governs law enforcement access to emails, text messages and other digital communications, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), is way out of date. It draws a distinction between email that is stored on an email provider’s server for 180 days or less, for instance your Google mail, and email that is older or has been opened. The former requires a warrant; the latter does not. Luckily, the Fourth Amendment still protects against unreasonable searches by the government. Accordingly, in 2010 the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided in United States v. Warshak that the government must obtain a probable cause warrant before compelling email providers to turn over messages.
But in the ‘am I a fool for not being paranoid’ – the IRS hasn’t told the public whether it is following Warshak everywhere in the country, or only within the Sixth Circuit.
And for anyone who has ever had their emails misread, in either thought or intent, given that most of us don’t write our short, snappy messages with the descriptive context of F. Scott Fitzgerald, think where that might lead if someone was looking over your shoulder with a glimmer of hope.
Singularity has nothing on the IRS.