If You Believe Your Internet Content and Webmail are Private, Read This...

14 November 2012 Publication
Authors: Peter Vogel

E-Commerce Times

Do you really believe your Web-based email is private? Let’s start with Terms of Service (ToS) or Privacy Policies, which few people actually read — maybe even less so for webmail accounts.

As a reminder, take a look at previous columns I have written here on ToS provisions and Privacy Policies. I won’t belabor those issues again.

1986 Stored Communications Act Controls Internet Content

In 1986, the Stored Communications Act (SCA) was initially designed to protect telephone records, not Internet activity. There was not much Web activity then, since there were no browsers. So when Internet Service Providers were confronted with Internet record requests, they relied on the SCA to address whether to withhold producing personal content without the written permission of the owner when served a subpoena in a civil action.

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