[ISN] E-Mail Snooping Ruled Permissible

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Fri Jul 2 08:34:39 EDT 2004

Forwarded from: Mark Hoffer <hoffer53 at hotmail.com>


Coming from the ISP side of things, this is a great sigh of relief.  
Before this ruling, some could have interpreted the law in a way that
the ISP could not scan for viruses or block spam.  I agree that email
should not be snooped on, but every user should know that the privacy
of an email is like that of a postcard.

Now about this wiretap law - is it unlawful for me to use a packet
sniffer to troubleshoot a customer's connection and to watch for
malicious traffic on my network?

-Mark Hoffer

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "InfoSec News" <isn at c4i.org>
To: <isn at attrition.org>
Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2004 7:33 AM
Subject: [ISN] E-Mail Snooping Ruled Permissible

> Forwarded from: Marjorie Simmons <lawyer at carpereslegalis.com>
> http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,64043,00.html
> By Kim Zetter
> June 30, 2004
> E-mail privacy suffered a serious setback on Tuesday when a court of
> appeals ruled that an e-mail provider did not break the law in
> reading his customers' communications without their consent.
> The First Court of Appeals in Massachusetts ruled that Bradford C.
> Councilman did not violate criminal wiretap laws when he
> surreptitiously copied and read the mail of his customers in order
> to monitor their transactions.
> Councilman, owner of a website selling rare and out-of-print books,
> offered book dealer customers e-mail accounts through his site. But
> unknown to those customers, Councilman installed code that
> intercepted and copied any e-mail that came to them from his
> competitor, Amazon.com. Although Councilman did not prevent the mail
> from reaching recipients, he read thousands of copied messages in
> order to know what books customers were seeking and gain a
> commercial advantage over Amazon.

More information about the ISN mailing list