One by one the Constitutional freedoms Americans supposedly "enjoy" are being eroded slowly away without most people even knowing it. In this Google issued Transparency Report, Google was requested by the government, courts, local and state police to erase from its database:
Everything from videos of police brutality, to information supposedly pertaining to national security were among the requests. The report also states one request from American authorities was to remove a video it believed to be critical of the government.
Separately, the report declares American law enforcement requested data from Google on 11,057 different users or accounts. Google said it complied with 4,700 of those requests. Almost all of this data sharing was done without a warrant.(from Addictinginfo.org)
Google complied with the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, enacted by the United States Congress to extend government restrictions on wire taps from telephone calls to include transmissions of electronic data by computer.
The ECPA has been met with criticism through the years including its failure to protect all communications and consumer records. Under the ECPA it is relatively easy for a governmental agency to demand service providers hand over consumer data that has been stored on servers. All that is required of the agency is a written statement certifying that the information is relevant to an investigation of foreign counterintelligence with no judicial review required. It also increased the list of crimes that can justify the use of surveillance as well as the number of judicial members who can authorize such surveillance. Data can be obtained without a warrant on traffic and calling patterns of an individual or group allowing an agency to gain valuable intelligence and possibly invade privacy without coming under fire because the actual content of the communication is left untouched. While workplace communications are in theory protected an employer must simply give notice or a supervisor must feel that the employee’s actions are not in the company’s “interest” to gain access to communiqué. This means that with minimal assumptions an employer can monitor communications within the company. The ongoing debate is where to limit the government’s power to see into civilian lives while balancing the need to curb national threats. The ECPA falls directly in the middle of this debate both sides wanting revisions and clarifications made by the courts and legislation.
You might want to consider what you say online with any computer entity, send over the line, or even think of commenting on.