Your Gmail account is fair game for cops or feds, says US judge

by Lisa Vaas,  nakedsecurity

A New York court on Thursday opened up our entire Gmail accounts to feds or cops with warrants, in spite of two recent decisions that went against similar requests.

Besides the decision itself, which concerns a money-laundering investigation, New York District Judge Gabriel Gorenstein’s decision was unusual in that the he actually took the trouble to write a lengthy explanation.

He wrote that email accounts are the same as hard drives, as far as the law was concerned, meaning they can be seized in their entirety when investigators show up with a warrant.

From his opinion:
In the context of suppression motions, courts have routinely upheld the seizure or copying of hard drives and other storage devices in order to effectuate a proper search for the categories of documents or files listed in a warrant.

At the heart of the case is an investigation in which the FBI had probable cause to believe that its target had been using an email account to engage in criminal activity and that emails and other information in his Google account would provide evidence of his crimes.

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