Slug: court-order-for-digital-privacy Date: 2009-12-02 Title: The Cloud, Digital Privacy, and Data Search Warrants layout: post

I had a few thoughts in response to a twitter, um “thread” on cloud computing and privacy, with Chris Messina and James Governor.


Just as law enforcement must present a court-ordered search warrant in order to enter your home, there ought to be an equivalent for non-public electronic records. Imagine if you will, that when the government requested 8 million GPS records from Sprint, they were required to send a notification to every affected user a copy of a search warrant that included:

  • entity requesting the data
  • under whose authorization the warrant is issued
  • probable cause
  • specific search parameters (just as a normal warrant must describe property to be seized)
  • notification of the user’s rights under applicable law

Much of this ought to already be on a warrant somewhere in these cases. Seeing as how Sprint set up a custom government portal for this sensitive data, it should be easy to notify affected users. Thoughts?