US JUDGE APPROVES WARRANT FOR GOOGLE USER'S EMAILS

On June 18, a federal judge in New York authorized a warrant to be served on Google Inc. for the emails of an individual targeted in a money laundering investigation. Judge Gabriel Gorenstein's decision is at odd with several other judges' rulings that broad warrants would fail to limit the universe of electronic communications and information to be turned over to the government and give prosecutor irregular access to too many emails and not just relevant ones. The opinion states that courts have long recognized the practical need for law enforcement to seize documents if only to determine whether they fall within the warrant. "We perceive no constitutionally significant difference between the searches of hard drives just discussed and searches of email accounts." "Indeed, in many cases, the data in an email account will be less expensive than the information that is typically contained on a hard drive." This ruling came a month after the U.S. Supreme Court decided that police generally need a warrant to search an arrested suspect's mobile.

REAFFIRMATION OF THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE IN INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS

On June 27, the D.C Circuit reaffirmed the attorney-client privilege applies in internal investigations. The decision vacated the March 6 district court decision ruling that investigations were not privileged because they were conducted “pursuant to regulatory law and corporate policy rather than for the purpose of obtaining legal advice.” The D.C. Circuit rejected the “rigid distinction between a legal purpose on the one hand and a business purpose on the other” and said that attorney-client privilege applies “even if the investigation was mandated by regulation, rather than simply an exercise of company discretion.”