In what is being heralded as an important expansion of privacy protection for e-mail, the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit recently released a decision on the case of Warshak v. US
The court ruled that a citizen does have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their email stored on the computers of their Internet Service Provider or other intermediary (such as HotMail or GMail.) As a result, the warrant seizure provisions of the Stored Communications Act need to be applied when prosecutors are seeking such electronic communications and to the extent the SCA permits access without a warrant, the court found those provisions to be unconstitutional.
The local angle in this decision is that University of San Francisco School of Law Professor Susan Freiwald filed an Amicus brief in support of plaintiff Warshak's privacy rights. Check out Prof. Freiwald's publications at her faculty bibliography page for list of more of her work on Cyberlaw and privacy issues.