Talk:Email privacy

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More to privacy than just end-to-end[edit]

This article seems to be almost completely focus on end-to-end security and privacy of e-email. While this is an important subject, there are other things to consider and trade-offs that can be made.

For example, you can use SMTP STARTTLS to ensure that all trafic between two MTAs can not be eavesdropped on. This is something that mail admins can do without requiring any effort on the part of end-users and will cover many of the most serious concerns when dealing with two end points that are trustworthy. Similarly, things like IMAPS can be uses to encrypt communication between the end-user and the IMAP server. VPNs can also be used in various situations.

End-to-end encryption doesn't solve all privacy problems and can actually make some things worse. Encrypted email that contains web bugs can disclose confidential information and it is possible for the retrieval of the encryption keys to be used as a web bug. Various e-mail authentication techniques can also be used for e-mail tracking, including SPF and DomainKeys.

Systems such as Tor can be used to help make your emails anonymous.

I think the scope of this article needs to be expanded. I've been pondering doing it for a while, but I haven't yet, I figure I should jot down my thoughts in case it is useful for others. See the "email privacy" section under e-mail for a contrast to this article. Wrs1864 04:30, 26 October 2006 (UTC) I think that this email privacy thing should go to the next level where even when going through cyber space it has secuirity almost like body guards.

The AlBaho Case[edit]

A paragraph about the AlBaho case (in France) has been thrice removed and three times re-added to this article. The current wording of the paragraph asserts that this was "an important precedent". It was removed by user:Wrs1864 with the comment that it appears have had no impact outside the people involved.

What is the evidence demonstrating that this case was in fact a significant precedent that merits mentioning in the encyclopedia article? I have to admit that I have so far been unable to find any significant commentary about the case myself. Thanks. Rossami (talk) 00:13, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, this was - to my knowledge (but please correct me if you know something I do not know) - a definite precedent in that it asserted that the very same law (in France) which stops people steaming open letters, also stops them reading emails. In effect, the precedent extended the classical laws which exist around the world protecting postal letters, telephone calls and telegraph and telegram communications, to email. This was the first case of its kind - definitely in France - if not one of the first of its kind worldwide.DomLor 19:53, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Personally, I haven't been able to find any evidence one way or the other. The question posed by the people deleting the section is "has this case actually been cited as precedent" either in other rulings, legislative developments, etc. or has the case simply died away, affecting only the people involved. If no one else is citing the case, then it's an anomaly, not a precedent. Can sources be found to verify that this case has actually had the impact that was predicted? Thanks. Rossami (talk) 01:35, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
I personally know of at least one case that usefully cited this case. It was called Onof v Nikon (France). A guy called Frederic Onof was fired by Nikon-France around 2000 for violating company rules on email use. He had an email folder called "private" but had signed a company contract promising to use his email account only for work purposes. He was fired when they discovered his private email use. He went to court to contest unfair dismissal. He lost the case in the lower court and in the court of appeal. After the ruling in the criminal case brought by AlBaho, Onof appealed his case to the French supreme court and there managed to win a total reversal, with the supreme court quashing both lower rulings. In France now, email privacy, as established in the case brought by AlBaho, has become the law. Nobody can read your email, even if you had signed a contract with your employer saying they can. In fact the supreme court in the Onof case said such contracts violated human rights because people deserved a private life even at work and, according to the ruling in the AlBaho case, email correspondence was part of that private life. The really interesting thing about the AlBaho ruling was that it extended the existing law protecting postal, telephone and telegraph legistlation, and said email was, from the point of view of the law, just the same as these other forms of communication. The fact that people appear not to be aware of this case, as Rossami points out, actually makes including it here even more important! Thanks. 08:26, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

After 180 days in the U.S., email messages lose their status as a protected communication[edit]

How about a 'legal' section? is information such as this (below)already included in the article? :

After 180 days in the U.S., email messages lose their status as a protected communication under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and become just another database record. This means that a subpoena instead of a warrant is all that's needed to force email providers such as Google to produce a copy. Other countries may even lack this basic protection, and Google's databases are distributed all over the world. Since the Patriot Act was passed, it's unclear whether this ECPA protection is worth much anymore in the U.S., or whether it even applies to email that originates from non-citizens in other countries.Nunamiut (talk) 18:05, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

email privacy —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nunamiut (talkcontribs) 21:13, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

If Google builds a database of keywords associated with email addresses, the potential for abuse is staggering. Google could grow a database that spits out the email addresses of those who used those keywords. How about words such as "box cutters" in the same email as "airline schedules"? Can you think of anyone who might be interested in obtaining a list of email addresses for that particular combination? Or how about "mp3" with "download"? Since the RIAA has sent subpoenas to Internet service providers and universities in an effort to identify copyright abusers, why should we expect Gmail to be off-limits?

Intelligence agencies would love to play with this information. Diagrams that show social networks of people who are inclined toward certain thoughts could be generated. This is one form of "data mining," which is very lucrative now for high-tech firms, such as Google, that contract with federal agencies. Email addresses tied to keywords would be perfect for this. The fact that Google offers so much storage turns Gmail into something that is uniquely dangerous and creepy. Nunamiut (talk) 21:12, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure that the 180 day rule no longer exists as of the Leahy-Lee Electronic Communications Privacy Amendments Act of 2013. Am I right? (talk) 09:41, 14 June 2014 (UTC)


Nothing about the legalities of forwarding, editing, and redistributing other people's email? --Gwern (contribs) 13:54 18 December 2009 (GMT)


Mor.nitesh (talk) 00:47, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

Reorganized the page structure quite a bit, addressed the issues with 'worldwide view' of the topic. Also, moved the technological and the legal issues to different sections