Kenny Foster on Monday, Oct. 15th
The 1986 Stored Communications Act needs a serious update, is the upshot of this troubling ARS Technica piece.
South Carolina’s Supreme Court last week decided that accessing someone’s email without their permission doesn’t violate the act. Why? Because the email is stored in the cloud, which counts as “electronic storage” not protected by the act. Here’s how this professor explained it to ARS Technica.
“This [South Carolina] decision is more evidence of how intractable and inconsistent our statutory electronic surveillance regime has become,” Woodrow Hertzog, a professor at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, told Ars.
“All of the discussions regarding backups, temporary copies, and the read/unread distinction seem to have very little to do with the way that most people perceive their use of e-mail. Ultimately, this problem is likely best resolved by the legislature, but the specifics of a politically palatable update to the SCA have yet to be fully agreed upon.”