18 April 2013

Whatever Happened To The Presumption of Innocence?

The Internal Revenue Service doesn't believe it needs a search warrant to read your e-mail.
Newly disclosed documents prepared by IRS lawyers say that Americans enjoy "generally no privacy" in their e-mail, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and similar online communications -- meaning that they can be perused without obtaining a search warrant signed by a judge.

The presumption of innocence is fundamental to common law, of which the US is supposed to be an adherent.  As I’ve noted before, the presumption of innocence should preclude the government from acting in any way to search for and/or prevent crimes from occurring.  Really, the government should only seek to redress crimes that have already occurred.  As such, the IRS has no business monitoring emails without a warrant.

Of course, the federal tax code is so complex that it’s likely that everyone at some point in their lives has violated it.  And once you work from that understanding, it becomes a little more clear as to why the IRS thinks that it has a right to monitor online communication without a warrant.  We’re all criminals now.