Access to Suspect's Gmail Account Blocked By Fed Magistrate

Prosecutors' request to view unnamed "target's" emails denied.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gmail
    A government request to peek into a theft suspect's emails was denied.

    No crime, no investigation -- and no facts.

    That means no permission to access someone's emails -- and certainly no permission to "retain and use every bit Google coughs up."

    A federal magistrate denied prosecutors' requests to access the Gmail account of someone suspected of stealing government funds, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

    The request was dismissed by U.S. Magistrate Paul Grewal as "overreaching," coming as it did with "no defendant" and "no case," as well as no "witnesses, no briefs and no debate," the newspaper reported.

    This approach is "seize first, search second," Grewal wrote, in denying the request, which is unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

    Tech companies have been at turns blamed for being complicit with government and law enforcement efforts to collect users' personal data and lauded for fighting back against data-mining efforts.