Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Justice Department Request Information for WikiLeaks Volunteer

Susan Brannon
10 October 2011
Google, the email giant has been forced to release email information of the WikiLeaks volunteer's to the U.S. Justice Department. Another email company, Sonic fought the order that was issued on January 4, 2001 but lost the case.  Sonic felt that they did the right thing, in spite of the high cost to fight the request. At this time, it is unclear if Google, fought the request, or compiled.

The US government requested login IPs and the IPs of those that the WikiLeaks communicated with, as well as their email addresses.  They requested information dating back to November 1, 2009.

Unfortunately, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, dating back to 1986 is questionable to the seizures of private communications.  The Act was introduced three years before the world wide web was born.  Both Google and Microsoft are trying to fight for a reform of the law.  The law makes it easier for the government to access emails that the postal mail. 

Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks has already warned the U.S. citizens that Facebook, Yahoo and Google account information is quite accessible to government officials.

1) The government do not need a search warrant, they do not need not need to show probable cause, but on reasonable grounds and the emails could contain relevant and material to an investigation.

2) They email providers are prohibited from notifying that the emails have been searched or seized. 

In the last six months of 2010, Google received 4,601 requests for data and they complied with 94% of the requests.  Google has a transparency report on their website. (Transparency Report

The request for email was for an Applelbaum who is a Tor Project programmer, that helps keep identities protected on the Internet.  His friends have had their laptops and cell phones temporarily seized.  The Justice Department wants to know who Appelbaum has corresponded with which they feel would be more useful.

On October 7th, the White House released and executive order to fight federal employee leaks of private information is an Insider Threat Task Force. The insider Threat Task Force, is lead by Attorney General Eric Holder  and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

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