Private email is not always hush hush by Michael Geist

This past September, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency launched “Operation Raw Deal,” an initiative that targeted people purchasing raw steroid materials through the Internet from China and repackaging the steroids as drugs for domestic sale. Tyler Strumbo, a 23-year-old California resident, was among the 124 people arrested.The Strumbo case is of particular interest because of an important Canadian connection. The foundation of the DEA’s case rested on hundreds of encrypted emails stored on the computer servers of Hush Communications, a company based in Vancouver. A British Columbia court ordered the company to decrypt the emails and to send them to the U.S. law enforcement officials. Faced with a valid court order, the company complied, shipping 12 CDs filled with unencrypted personal email to investigators in California.

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