Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft
[...] Last week a federal appeals court in Boston ruled that federal wiretap laws do not apply to e-mail messages if they are stored, even for a millisecond, on the computers of the Internet providers that process them - meaning that it can be legal for the government or others to read such messages without a court order.
The ruling was a surprise to many people, because in 1986 Congress specifically amended the wiretap laws to incorporate new technologies like e-mail. Some argue that the ruling's implications could affect emerging applications like Internet-based phone calls and Gmail, Google's new e-mail service, which shows advertising based on the content of a subscriber's e-mail messages. [...]