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Court: Non-Citizen E-Mails Protected Under ECPA

PRIVACY LAW—U.S. & INDIA

August 9, 2011

The Ninth Circuit Court has ruled that under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), Microsoft does not have to turn over an Indian citizen's e-mails. Indian energy company Suzlon Energy, claiming the man defrauded it, has requested copies of all e-mails sent to and from his Web mail account and of written agreements he had with Microsoft, reports Courthouse News Service. The court ordered Microsoft to hand over the contracts but ruled the e-mails are subject to protection under ECPA, sparking a debate over the intent of the law. Suzlon's lawyer commented, if by "parking" e-mails in the U.S. criminals could avoid discovery, "every felon in the world would do so." But Judge Milan Smith remarked, if congress wants to distinguish between a U.S. citizen and noncitizen, "it knows how to do it."  
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