Paul L. Caron

Thursday, April 11, 2013

ACLU: IRS Says It Can Read Taxpayer Email Without a Warrant

ACLU LogoACLU, IRS New Documents Suggest IRS Reads Emails Without a Warrant:

Everyone knows the IRS is our nation’s tax collector, but it is also a law enforcement organization tasked with investigating criminal violations of the tax laws. New documents released to the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the IRS Criminal Tax Division has long taken the position that the IRS can read your emails without a warrant—a practice that one appeals court has said violates the Fourth Amendment (and we think most Americans would agree).

Last year, the ACLU sent a FOIA request to the IRS seeking records regarding whether it gets a warrant before reading people’s email, text messages and other private electronic communications. The IRS has now responded by sending us 247 pages of records describing the policies and practices of its criminal investigative arm when seeking the contents of emails and other electronic communications.

So does the IRS always get a warrant? Unfortunately, while the documents we have obtained do not answer this question point blank, they suggest otherwise.... Let’s hope you never end up on the wrong end of an IRS criminal tax investigation. But if you do, you should be able to trust that the IRS will obey the Fourth Amendment when it seeks the contents of your private emails. Until now, that hasn’t been the case.

(Hat Tip: David J. Herzig.)

IRS News, Tax | Permalink

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Great boost for private encryption of email.

Posted by: Ed Nutter | Apr 11, 2013 11:50:34 AM

I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Posted by: AD-RtR/OS! | Apr 11, 2013 11:42:02 AM