• Landmark Decision Affords Constitutional Privacy Protection To E-mails
  • July 2, 2007 | Author: Melanie B. Rother
  • Law Firm: Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. - Houston Office
  • In a landmark decision issued on June 18, the Sixth Circuit held that e-mail users have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their e-mail communications, and thus, e-mails have the same Fourth Amendment constitutional privacy protections as telephone conversations and sealed "regular" mail. As a result, at least in that Circuit, the government is not entitled to search and seize e-mail communications directly from an Internet Service Provider ("ISP") related to an account holder's e-mails without obtaining a warrant based on probable cause or providing prior notice to that e-mail account holder. As discussed below, the Court recognized an exception to this ruling that may become important for employers and others to review, which involves an analysis of the right to access an employee's e-mails.