How Your Private Emails Can Be Used Against You in Court
Gruenspecht argues that this reflects outdated notions of the role of third parties. When these laws developed, it was reasonable to believe that any third party with access to someone's data would have a stake in that data and a relationship with the person who created it. The opportunity to contest a subpoena was therefore assumed to be genuine. But when a company that merely stores the data is subpoenaed, it may have no reason to protest and just fork over the information.
Who has copies of your emails? You do, of course, as do all the people you sent them to. But so does Google or Yahoo or whichever cloud email service you use. And emails are just the beginning: more and more of our communications and transactions are happening online and stored by someone for some amount of time. In this new world, the rules that govern grand jury subpoenas may have troubling implications, argues Joshua Gruenspecht, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Democracy and Technology, in the spring issue of the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology.