How important are checks and balances? Imagine the government thinks that some people stole $5,000 worth of computer equipment from a large retailer. In a stunningly broad request, it goes to court and asks for the contents of “all emails, instant messages, chat logs” and other communications from internet service providers—like Google, Yahoo, and Verizon—for all the people suspected of being involved. Not for all their communications related to the alleged theft, mind you. Just, everything. This judge quite sensibly said no. Another good pitch for separation of powers and the Fourth Amendment.
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