Landmark ruling strips emails of privacy

Landmark ruling strips emails of privacy

A Federal court in America has made a ruling that permits Internet service providers to intercept and email messages for viewing purposes, even though many people claim it should be protected under the law in the same way as postal mail or telephone conversations.

Last month, the US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that is was acceptable for Interloc to copy and read's email messages to Interloc subscribers.

Interloc served as an Internet service provider for rare booksellers was initially indicted under the US Wiretap Act.

This has shocked many people who had strong views that emails routed through or hosted by an external service provider, such as an ISP or application service provider (ASP), should legally be protected from other people.

The court did rule that access could be restricted under specific contractual agreements though.

Gartner believes that companies need to be aware of the privacy risks now with data hosting now that this case validates hosting services having full legal access to view corporate data.

It has made a number of recommendations to companies, which need to address security, ownership and privacy though contracts with ISPs and hosters.

Gartner suggests that where email is hosted, encryption should be considered; ISP hosting contracts should be reviewed to check that the contract protects the privacy of data and communications; ISPs should ensure that their privacy policies cover the safety of sensitive material and policies by service providers should be audited by a third party and made available to customers.

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