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Articles collected after CIA director's affair was revealed
  Topic 1: Online Privacy Petraeus case triggers concerns aboutonline privacy November 18, 2012  – Jessica Guyunn, Brisbane Times If the director of the CIA cannot keep the FBI from rummaging through his private Gmailaccount, what digital privacy protections do ordinary US citizens have?Precious few, say privacy advocates. As US law stands now, law enforcement can secretlygain access to people's email, often without a search warrant. “Unless there are substantive changes in the law, people just have to assume their email i  s accessible to the government without their permission and without their notification.”    Ann Bartow, Pace Law School professor When the government goes looking, it can find out pretty much everything about ourlives, said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).That's because the main law governing digital privacy — the Electronic CommunicationsPrivacy Act (ECPA) — was passed in 1986. At the time, Facebook founder MarkZuckerberg was a toddler. The web was in its infancy and social networking had yet to beconceived.No one predicted that, as the web surged in popularity, people would begin storing theirentire digital lives — emails, instant messages, Facebook status updates, photos, medicalrecords, tax returns — on far-flung computer servers rather than on their home hard driveswhere the information has broader legal protection.Privacy watchdogs for years have warned that the antiquated federal statute — andconflicting interpretations of the statute from different courts — have not kept up with howpeople today use the web, giving more legal rights to letters and documents stored in yourfiling cabinet than to emails and other electronic communication. But attempts to reformfederal law in US Congress and in the courts have foundered even as some courtsquestioned the law's constitutionality. People worry about their password to protect their privacy. This illustrates how useless thatis, Pace Law School professor Ann Bartow said. Unless there are substantive changes in thelaw, people just have to assume their email is accessible to the government without theirpermission and without their notification. Requests from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to access private accountsregularly flood companies like Google. The request to access the private Gmail account of General David Petraeus was one of them. In the aftermath of September 11, lawenforcement says such requests are routine and more necessary than ever to fight crimeand terrorism.But civil libertarians say the Petraeus scandal should serve as a wake-up call to ordinarycitizens that anyone's privacy can be invaded.  Topic 1: Online Privacy It shouldn't be that, in order to take advantage of the efficiencies and convenience of usingcloud-based services, that you have to sacrifice the protections that the Constitution lays outfor you, said Kurt Opsahl, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.Currently the government doesn't need a search warrant — just a subpoena — to accessemails stored longer than 180 days, said Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties for theStanford Law School Centre for Internet and Society.Most people don't even know if their email has been searched since court orders are usuallysealed and internet providers are generally not allowed to inform their customers.A coalition of technology companies including Google, Microsoft and AT&T is lobbying USCongress to update the law to require search warrants in more investigations.US Senator Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who heads the Judiciary Committee, hasproposed legislation that would require law enforcement agents to obtain a search warrantfrom a judge before accessing any files stored in the cloud. But the Justice Department haspushed back against the legislation, saying it could slow criminal investigations. In the pre-digital world, if the government wanted to find out what was going on in yourbedroom, it needed to get a warrant to enter your bedroom. At least then you knew whatwas going on, said Jim Dempsey, vice president for public policy for the Centre forDemocracy and Technology.Privacy advocates say they are also alarmed by the open-ended scope of the FBIinvestigation, which had devastating consequences for people who were not the intendedtarget of the srcinal investigation.What began as a cyber-stalking investigation over half a dozen anonymous emails thataccused Jill Kelley, a Tampa, Florida, woman, of being inappropriately flirtatious withPetraeus led to his resignation over an extramarital affair with his biographer PaulaBroadwell and has entangled General John R. Allen, the top NATO commander inAfghanistan, who sent inappropriate communication to Kelley. The way this investigation proceeded does reflect just how much information is available tolaw enforcement agents when they begin to pull on a thread, said Marc Rotenberg,executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Centre.And no one knows just how far the investigation reached, Opsahl said. Who knows how many other people communicated with the people involved here and hadtheir email accounts sifted through and just don't know about it, he said.  Topic 1: Online Privacy Petraeus case fuels fresh debate ononline privacy November 15, 2012, Yahoo! News WASHINGTON (AFP) - The investigation that toppled CIA chief David Petraeus has sparkedfresh debate over online privacy and the government's ability to snoop into private emailaccounts. When the CIA director cannot hide his activities online, what hope is there for the rest of us? said Chris Soghoian of the American Civil Liberties Union's Privacy and TechnologyProject. This should also serve as a warning, by demonstrating the extent to which the governmentcan pierce the veil of communications anonymity without ever having to obtain a searchwarrant or other court order from a neutral judge. Petraeus resigned last week when it became clear that his affair with 40-year-old militaryreservist Paula Broadwell, his biographer, would become public.FBI agents stumbled on the liaison after a complaint from Jill Kelley -- a close friend of bothPetraeus and Allen -- who told a federal agent that she had received threatening emails,which investigators later traced to Broadwell. It is troubling because we don't know what permissions were granted, said James Lewis,head of the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic andInternational Studies.Lewis said it was unclear if Broadwell was made aware of her rights, before agreeing to allowFBI agents to access her emails.He said even spy agencies such as the National Security Agency, when hunting for terrorists,must meet very precise legal conditions before obtaining email access. We need to be clear on the rules for looking at emails without a warrant. The basic ruleshould be no court approval, no investigation, Lewis said.It was not immediately clear what methods the FBI used in the probe. Some reports suggestFBI agents may have obtained a court order which allowed access to Broadwell's Gmailaccount.Google said this week in its semiannual Transparency Report that the number of government requests to hand over data from users was on the rise.In the first half of 2012, Google received 20,938 requests for data from government entitiesaround the world, including 7,969 from the United States. Google complied in 90 percent of those cases.  Topic 1: Online PrivacyJulian Sanchez, a research fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute, said the case appears tohave led the FBI on a fishing expedition which eventually led to Petraeus and later to topGeneral John Allen for emails linked to people in the scandal. It's not clear what authority the FBI had, or what the probable cause was, said Sanchez,noting that it's not yet clear if any crime was committed. It seems like an abuse of investigative powers. The mushrooming scandal is expected to give new impetus to proposals in Congress,including a bill from Senator Patrick Leahy, to require a court warrant based on probablecause in order to get email contents from Internet firms.The ACLU's Soghoian said the Petraeus case underscores the need for stricter legislation. It's a reminder that the legal protections for email fall far short of what they should be, hesaid in a blog post.Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel at the Washington-based Center for Democracy &Technology, said the case may cause lawmakers to finally wake up to the issue of digitalprivacy. The Petraeus investigation shows that it's critically important to have strong privacyprotections for email and other electronic communications, he said. Without them, investigations can rapidly broaden and snare others far removed from thesrcinal target, and maybe veer out of control.
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