Monday December 22, 2014
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Microsoft was worried about the chances of someone stealing industrial secrets. So they read some personal email on Hotmail — AKA Outlook.com these days. How do we know that Microsoft did that? It was in a court complaint filed by federal prosecutors against Alex Kibkalo, a former Microsoft employee.
Okay, they found someone who was stealing from them, but that's not the question here. The question is what legal process Microsoft followed to obtain the authority to make a search, which is, of course, a Fourth Amendment issue.
Microsoft says that it followed no legal process, that it did not need a court order to read private email because its terms of service allow it to do that under "exceptional circumstances.”
Besides, Microsoft says, courts do not have to issue orders to companies to search "themselves."
That means that as far as Microsoft is concerned anything you place on "their" system belongs to them, no matter how private and personal it may be.
How can that be?
Their contract says so.
So I guess businesses now have the power to override the Bill of Rights. All they have to do is slip something into the fine print.
The Question Is....
If it is legal for Microsoft to go into someone's email because it is on their system, is it then legal for your bank to go into your safe deposit box and examine what you have in there? After all, it's on bank property, isn't it? Show me the legal difference.
If you have a safe deposit box and your spouse dies, you will have to have a bank person with you and possibly your attorney when you go in to get anything out of it.
Hows that for an answer Tom? (:
I don't get that, Pat. I go into my safe deposit box all the time. No one has the slightest idea whether anyone in my family died, nor does anyone ask. Did you mean that would happen if my name was not on the list of people who had access to the box?
I am NOT disagreeing with you. Just looking for more info.
I know of two people it has happened to. My Dad was the only heir of his dad, and his name was on the bank records. He had to hire an attorney to get into the safety deposit box and the attorney and a bank employee took inventory of what was there. My dad had to sign for anything he took out.
My neighbors husband died while her mother had $15,000 cash in their deposit box. My neighbor took her son and went to the bank. He talked to the banker while my neighbor took the money out. They did not want it to show up on their assets as it wasn't theirs. They did this about 30 minutes after her husband died because she knew what would happen if the bank knew he was dead.
Call your bank and ask them. I would never have a safety deposit box. I am a control freak. It is no ones business what I have. Dig a hole in the back yard. (:
"Call your bank and ask them."
No thanks. :-)
"Dig a hole in the back yard."
For the banker?
No, Tom, for what most people put in their safety deposit box.
Now that you mentioned it there is a couple of bankers that might fit in the hole.
"Dig a hole in the back yard.
For the banker?"
"No, Tom, for what most people put in their safety deposit box."
Ah! Too bad. You got my hopes up.
We are, incidentally, WAY off the track on what just may be the most important string ever started on this forum.
So back to the original point, which seems to have been overlooked.
Do you really think a private company has the right to change the 4th Amendment, doing a search of your private property, such as your email or your phone calls, just because it happens to be stored electronically in a place which is available to that company?
I ask you this question for a VERY specific and VERY special reason.
You've just seen all the flack about the government reading email and monitoring phone calls, right?
Well, I have news for you: Every phone call you make and every email you send passes through lines, over satellites, and through the air, all of which BELONG TO — you heard it, BELONG TO — the federal government. And they also pass through lines which BELONG TO some private company.
Now, explain how a private company has the authority to do something to you that the federal government hasn't got the authority to do — search your effects without a search warrant. In other words, explain why the 4th Amendment to the constitution no longer applies to anyone at all if the theory that no warrant is required to search something that is on property that belongs to someone, because if a private company can search your effects because it is on THEIR property, then all the federal government has to do to get around the fourth amendment is hire a private company to do it for them based on the theory that your effects are on private property and the company needs no warrant to search itself. Or the federal government can simply say it OWNS the main internet lines, the satellites, and the airwaves — which it DOES!
So if Google can read your email by putting it in your contract, then the feds can hire Google to be Big Brother. And if what Microsoft did was not a violation of the 4th amendment then there is NO SUCH THING as a violation of the 4th Amendment.
Here's the 4th Amendment. Read it:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
You want to throw that away?
The way I read it is, they can't search you, your house or anything you have there without a warrant. Once you put it on the internet, phone, use a bank or wherever that is not your property it is open to anyone. I personally think anyone that puts what I call private business, such as banking and bill paying on a computer are crazy. Any kind of records are open to anyone that knows how to get into them. Read the inserts they have been putting in your bank statements. They can give out all your information including your SS number. Who you pay checks to, your bank balance and whatever. There is no safe place for anything anymore. My SS card says not to be used for ID, but what is the first thing any business, dr, hospital or whatever asks of you? Your social security number. Right? We didn't throw anything away, the govt. has taken it away.
"Once you put it on the internet, phone, use a bank or wherever that is not your property it is open to anyone."
Not quite, Pat. The 4th amendment applies to "effects," that includes anything you do not openly post. However, see my next comment.
"I personally think anyone that puts what I call private business, such as banking and bill paying on a computer are crazy."
Too much risk. At least for me.
"My SS card says not to be used for ID, but what is the first thing any business, dr, hospital or whatever asks of you?'
That is sadly in need of change. Using a SS card for ID screws up the SS system. If the government wants an individual ID then it should issue one — one which is not in any way tied to SS.
Why do I say that?
"...what is the first thing any business, dr, hospital or whatever asks of you?"
They ask for it as an ID, don't they? It has nothing to do with your retirement plan. SSAN's and ID's are apples and oranges. One is simply a retirement plan number. The other is proof of who you are. By using SS numbers as ID the government makes them valuable to illegals, who then screw up the SS program. If SS numbers were only used by SS then that problem would go away.
And yes, the illegals and others would be after your ID, but it would not screw up everything when you go to retire, which I have seen happen to too many people.
Several years ago my daughter in-law was in trouble with IRS because an illegal had used her number and his wages got put on some forms his employer sent in and it showed up she made more money than what she put on her income tax return. Took her awhile but finally got it straightened out. He had made up the number didn't even show his employer a SS card, just gave him a number.
SS numbers are used for Medicare.
"my daughter in-law was in trouble with IRS because an illegal had used her number and his wages got put on some forms his employer sent in and it showed up she made more money than what she put on her income tax return."
What gets me is how someone can apply for SS and be told that his records show that two, or three, people were putting money into his account.
Be stuck without his money for a couple of years while SS straightens out a mess that wasn't his fault!
My question is why that discrepancies weren't caught a long time before he retired. It ought to be obvious. If Jose Gonzales is donating to the account of John Smith, somebody ought to notice it!
Or if John Smith lives in three different cities, and has three different addresses all at the same time, and files three different sets of income tax reports I would think that would seem strange.
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