Warrants for email and backup tapes

Karl Denninger karl at mcs.net
Wed Jul 29 00:56:43 UTC 1998

On Tue, Jul 28, 1998 at 10:24:31PM +0000, William Allen Simpson wrote:
> Our ISP was just served a warrant (out of California) demanding our
> dialup logs and email backup tapes.  So far, the warrant is probably
> invalid, as it mis-named the company.  And as far as we can tell, we are
> not being charged with anything -- or at least we have not been told so.
> We only have our usual contracts attorney, and he seems a bit out of his
> depth.
> This is pretty invasive to our customers.  We'll have a dickens of a
> time complying, as we don't back up client email, except at odd
> intervals backing up entire systems.  And we only keep dialing logs
> around for a few months at a time, since we don't use them for billing.
> Is anyone else having this experience?  If so, what have you done?
> WSimpson at UMich.edu
>     Key fingerprint =  17 40 5E 67 15 6F 31 26  DD 0D B9 9B 6A 15 2C 32

Talk to a lawyer who understands this.

IN GENERAL - a state-based subpoena out of jurisdiction does not have to be
complied with.  HOWEVER, the issuer can then turn around and get it served 
out of your state (if they want to).

Its a pain in the ass for them to do this, but they certainly CAN.

If you have what's in the subpoena, and the subpoena is valid, you either
comply or risk a contempt citation from the judge who signed it.  You don't
have to produce what you don't have, obviously (you can't invent things that
don't exist!)

You CAN fight a subpoena (and you might even be able to get it quashed).
You really need a good attorney to look this situation over.

Karl Denninger (karl at MCS.Net)| MCSNet - Serving Chicagoland and Wisconsin
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