Petraeus Case Raises Fears About Privacy in Digital Era

The F.B.I. investigation that toppled the director of the C.I.A. and now threatens to tarnish the reputation of the top American commander in Afghanistan underscores a danger that civil libertarians have long warned about: that in policing the Web for crime, espionage and sabotage, government investigators will unavoidably invade the private lives of Americans.On the Internet, and especially in e-mail, text messages, social network postings and online photos, the work lives and personal lives of Americans are inextricably mixed. Private, sensitive messages are stored for years on computer servers, available to be discovered by investigators who may be looking into completely unrelated matters. see:Gmail And The FBI Took Down David Petraeus: Why It Matters To You
News broke Friday that CIA Chief David Petraeus was resigning due to an extramarital affair. Oddly enough, the leader of the intelligence gathering agency was brought down by Gmail metadata. Many jokes have been made about the fact that the CIA head fell victim to an incriminating online footprint, but the revelation leads to some very serious questions.We don’t know the full story, and might never learn it. But one question many are asking is, could this happen to me? The immediate answer is no. Petraeus’ indiscretion came to light after a complaint was made about threatening emails. And the Wall Street Journal has now reported that the FBI agent who launched the investigation was barred from the case after superiors were concerned he may have become obsessive. According to sources in the report, the agent sent a shirtless picture of himself to the woman who issued the complaint, Jill Kelley.

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