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Dead men may tell no tales, but IoT devices do

Evan Schuman | Feb. 8, 2017
Real privacy laws are needed in the U.S., and now more than ever with the advent of the IoT

Amazon issued a statement saying that it “will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand” and that Amazon objects to “overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course.”

That sounds great and all, but it means nothing. If any judge anywhere signs a warrant, bingo — you have a valid and binding legal demand. In many instances, you don’t even need a judge. Any attorney, on his/her own, can subpoena documents as part of a case. That’s also instantly valid and binding, unless a judge intervenes.

As for “overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands,” any judge or lawyer who issues such a demand is quite unlikely to consider their own demand overboard or inappropriate, so that doesn’t help, either.

We need real privacy laws in the U.S., where law enforcement — and anyone else — needs to have a specific and provable fact that they are trying to back up. Not certain how it should be worded, but I think prohibiting any request where the prosecutor tells reporters that he “has no idea if the device recorded anything related to the death” is a good place to start.


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