With the US Tax Day less than a week away, the ACLU has released a not-very-comforting Freedom of Information Act request return from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) showing just how easy it is for the tax agency to read people's online communications without a court-issued warrant. [...]
A 2010 presentation from the IRS Office of Chief Counsel stated that "4th Amendment Does Not Protect Emails Stored on Server" and that internet users should have "No Privacy Expectation." Under the current rules, if an email has been opened or if it's more than 180 days old, then the people who check whether you've been good or bad on your tax returns don't need a warrant for full access.
I'm not comfortable with any of this, including the pervasive mentality that the only people who wouldn't be comfortable with this must therefore be guilty of something they are trying to hide.
I, like a lot of other people, use my email as a way to store large amounts of information that I may need to access while away from home. Learning that this information is considered "non-private" merely because it is stored in the cloud is very troubling to me, and carries a lot of problematic implications with it.