from the another-outbreak-of-commonsense dept.
A federal appeals court has reversed an accountant's tax-evasion conviction because the government seized his computer data and held it for more than 2.5 years - a breach of the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches. "If the government could seize and retain non-responsive electronic records indefinitely, so it could search them whenever it later developed probable cause, every warrant to search for particular electronic data would become, in essence, a general warrant", Judge Denny Chin wrote, in Docket 12-240-cr [PDF] for the appeals court.
From the article:
At least one digital rights group said the decision may affect the National Security Agency's vast electronic snooping programs disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
"I would certainly argue that it calls into question the whole collect-it-all-and-sniff-through-it-later practice", Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Courthouse News Service.