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259 posts

Ultimate Geek

#25435 21-Aug-2008 11:08
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Basically saying that if you use 3rd parties to hold your data you have no expectation of privacy. Now, this article applies to US entities, but I wonder what the situation is here.

For example, what status does my skydrive have?

More importantly, Message Labs are trying to sign my business up to their filtering service. What expecation of privacy should I have with regard to our mail and surfing habits? Message Labs archives mail for a month or so, can this be seized without a warrant or our knowledge?

Scary stuff.


Edit: Link HTML updated

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
- Adam Savage, Mythbuster

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3573 posts

Uber Geek

Lifetime subscriber

  #158609 21-Aug-2008 11:58
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Interetsing story.  I can see all sorts of arguments being put forward for both sides here!  Any chance you can edit your post to actually include the link rather than just citing it?

In New Zealand a warrant is required to do electronic interceptions or retrieve data from ISP's.  So, in general (unless you're being investigated for something) you should expect privacy.  But the events alleged in this thread, involving Trademe and the police, might tend to cast a shadow over that expectation.

It would be interesting to know how information gathering might work if the cloud is hosted in or run by entities in a different country.

Getting back to the issue of notice raised in the article, in NZ there is no requirement to give notice of a search warrant beforehand and IMHO neither should there be.  Giving prior notice would only result in destruction/concealment of evidence.  However, subsequent handling of information obtained should done with great care which, it might seem, has not been the case in the Trademe incident.

In regards to your expectations of mail and surfing habits via Message Labs:
- Electronic mail is protected in the same way physical mail is, so your expectation of privacy from Message Labs itself should be absolute.  Reality may vary, especially if they have staff who subscribe to Adam Savage's sentiments...Wink
- Surfing habits have been tracked since the invention of cookies.  Unless you always block all of these, plenty of corporations know your surfing habits already!

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