Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Americans Have Fewer Privacy Rights When Emailing People Overseas, Court Rules
However, the panel of three Circuit judges disagreed — deciding that the government has the right under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to make use of American digital communications it obtains incidentally through its overseas surveillance programs, so long as the original target is a foreigner. Mohamud had “diminished” expectations of privacy when he hit send, knowing his correspondence would leave the country, the court said.
Under Section 702, the government doesn’t need to obtain a warrant, demonstrate probable cause, or be specific about exactly where and when the surveillance will take place. If the government can use communications from Americans collected under 702, even in narrow circumstances, it sets a precedent that could have lasting implications for their constitutional right to privacy in the digital age.