In a case decided on Wednesday, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that accessing someone’s online e-mail without their permission doesn’t violate the 1986-era Stored Communications Act (SCA). Though they differed in their reasoning, the justices were unanimous in ruling that e-mail stored in the cloud (like Gmail or Yahoo Mail) does not meet the definition of electronic storage as written in the statute.
This new decision creates a split with existing case law (Theofel v. Farey-Jones) as decided in a 2004 case decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That decision found that an e-mail message that was received, read, and left on a server (rather than being deleted) did constitute storage “for purposes of backup protection,” and therefore was also defined as being kept in “electronic storage.”
Legal scholars point to this judicial split as yet another reason why the Supreme Court (and/or Congress) should take up the issue of the Stored Communications Act.
» via ars technica
Just in case any of y’all thought this stuff was private.