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In re Applications for Search Warrants for Information Associated with Target Email Accounts/Skype Accounts

United States District Court, Tenth Circuit

August 27, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF APPLICATIONS FOR SEARCH WARRANTS FOR INFORMATION ASSOCIATED WITH TARGET EMAIL ACCOUNTS/SKYPE ACCOUNTS

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DAVID J. WAXSE U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

The United States has submitted five Applications and Affidavits for Search Warrant pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 2703(a), 2703(b)(1)(A), and 2703(c)(1)(A) to require five providers of electronic communication services, Google, Inc. (“Google”), GoDaddy, Verizon Internet Services (“Verizon”), Yahoo!, and Skype (collectively, “Providers”), to disclose copies of electronic communications-including the contents of all emails, instant messages, and chat logs/sessions-and other account-related information for the accounts identified in the Applications (“target accounts”). In the Affidavits in support of probable cause, the government alleges that the individual or individuals being investigated purchased computer equipment with a value well over $5, 000 that had been stolen from Sprint, with the knowledge that the equipment was stolen, and that they took possession of the equipment in Kansas and then transported it to New Jersey. The government alleges that the target accounts were utilized to facilitate the purchase, receipt, and transportation of the equipment, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2314 (Interstate Transport of Stolen Property), 18 U.S.C. § 2315 (Receipt of Stolen Property), and 18 U.S.C. § 371 (Conspiracy). The government seeks search warrants to obtain stored electronic communications and other information from the Providers in its search for fruits, evidence and/or instrumentalities of the violation of these laws. For the reasons discussed below, the Applications for Search Warrant are denied without prejudice.

I. Proposed Search Warrants

The proposed search warrants are structured so that they identify two categories of information: (1) information to be disclosed by the Providers to the government under 18 U.S.C. § 2703, and (2) information to be seized by the government. The first section of each proposed warrant orders the Provider to disclose to the government the following information, including the content of communications, for each account or identifier associated with the target account(s) stored by the Provider:

The contents of all emails, instant messages, and chat logs/sessions associated with the account, including stored or preserved copies of emails, instant messages, and chat logs/sessions sent to and from the account; draft emails; deleted emails, instant messages, and chat logs/sessions preserved pursuant to a request made under 18 U.S.C. § 2703(f); the source and destination addresses associated with each email, instant message, and chat logs/session, as well as the date and time at which each email, instant message, and chat logs/session was sent, and the size and length of each email;
All records or other information regarding the identification of the account, to include full name, physical address, telephone numbers and other identifiers, records of session times and durations, the date on which the account was created, the length of service, the types of service utilized, the IP address used to register the account, log-in IP addresses associated with session times and dates, account status, alternative email addresses provided during registration, methods of connecting, log files, and means and source of payment (including any credit or bank account number);
All records or other information stored by an individual using the account, including address books, contact and buddy lists, calendar data, pictures, and files; and
All records pertaining to communications between (Provider) and any person regarding the account, including contacts with support services and records of actions taken.

Upon the government’s receipt of the requested information from the Provider, the second section of the proposed warrants further provides that the FBI will maintain all information that constitutes fruits, evidence, and instrumentalities of violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2314, 2315, or 371 involving the target account(s) since June 2006, including the following information:

All stored electronic mail, instant message, and chat logs/session sent to, from, and through (target account) and all related subscriber accounts from June 2006, when the conspiracy commenced until the date of the search warrant to include communications involving the transportation or receipt of stolen property;
Records relating to who created, used, or communicated with the (target account) or identifiers, including records about their identities and whereabouts; and
All records related to the subscriber account of (all target accounts), including account information, computer host names, Internet addresses, passwords, access telephone numbers, password files, and other identifying information.

II. Relevant Law

A. The Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. ยงยง 2701 ...


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