Monday, March 29, 2010

No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in Delivered Emails

In Rehberg v. Paulk, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 5198 (11th Cir. March 11, 2010), a panel of that court, Judge Hull writing for Judges Carnes and Anderson, held that sending “emails to third parties constitute[s] a voluntary relinquishment of the right to privacy in that information.” The government investigators subpoenaed the emails directly from the ISP through which Rehberg transmitted his email messages. In essence, no one in the 11th Circuit should have any expectation of privacy in their emails from the moment one transmits the message, and should expect that the government can go to your ISP and obtain any and all of your otherwise private messages. See also Orin Kerr’s analysis of this case at the Volokh Conspiracy.

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