US judges rule warrantless tracking of Internet use OK

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This weekend, in a 3-0 ruling, California judges ruled that investigators may monitor URLs and email addresses visited by suspects without need for wiretap authorization. This does not entitle them to snoop the actual content of the pages or emails. Judges ruled that this was equivalent to “pen register” law already in place, which allowed investigators to monitor phone numbers called and addresses visited without actually being privy to the contents of any communication passed within. “[I]t does not find out the contents of the messages or the particular pages on the Web sites the person viewed,” said the ruling. The rationale was that since users already submit those addresses for use by their ISP, they have already forfeited expectation of privacy concerning them, same as if they’d written an address on an envelope and expected the Post Office to read it. [GT]

Judges OK warrantless monitoring of Web use / Privacy rules don’t apply to Internet messages, court says

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Gabrielle Taylor