Privacy is a growing concern not only from tech giants like Google, but also high-level government agencies. With the DOJ targeting a Fox New reporter, some are wondering what’s to stop the FBI or DOJ from doing the same to other citizens.
In a recent report, it was found that Google has provided “some data” on at least 90% of the requests made to them through warrant or other means.
The FBI’s first contact with Google regarding Rosen’s Gmail accounts came on October 2, 2009, when the FBI requested Google preserve Rosen’s emails — i.e., not delete them if Rosen wanted them erased. The FBI filed two 90-day extensions for the preservation order, one on Jan. 15, 2010 (a few days late) and another on April 9, 2010.
The Rosen warrant was issued May 28 of 2010 under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). It requested all of Rosen’s emails between June 10 and June 11 of 2009 along with all emails between Rosen and Kim’s known Gmail and Yahoo accounts. The FBI argued in the warrant the agency’s investigation of Kim provided only a partial email record between the two men and access to Rosen’s emails might help them complete the dialogue.
The FBI insists in the warrant it had “no other way to get the evidence we rightfully seek,” as asking Rosen for his emails would tip him off to the investigation’s existence. The FBI also asked Google not to disclose its access request to Rosen, again to avoid informing him of their investigation. It also requested and was granted the sealing of the warrant itself for similar reasons.
Google spokesperson Samantha Smith told Mashable the company does not “comment on individual accounts or users.” Requests from United States government officials for Google user data has been steadily increasing since 2009; Google has provided at least “some data” for 90.5% of those requests on average.
Here’s the original warrant for the reporter’s emails: