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From: "(Roy R. Beatty) Keane, Inc. [BEATTYR] 302-774-0335 B-10217" 
Subject: CRYONICS - ComputerWorld Article
To: ho4cad!kqb%
Status: R

_ComputerWorld_ Monday, January 23, 1989 has an article on 
page 2 on the Alcor bust and the keystone coroners:


E-mail bust generates
privacy rights uproar


SAN JOSE, Calif. -- When deputies from the Riverside County, Calif., 
coroner's office raided the offices of the Alcor Life Extension 
Foundation, they were looking for the head of possible murder victim
Dora Kent.  They did not find the head, which had been cryonically
frozen at death in hopes of later resuscitation.  Instead, they took
the foundation's eight personal computers, including the electronic
mail stored within.

   As a result, three San Jose computer consultants, led by Keith 
Henson, filed a class action lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation last month for failing to investigate what they claim
was a violation of the Federal Electronic Communications Act of 1986.
Henson said that while the county's search warrant allowed seizure of
computers and storage devices, it did not specify confiscating elec-
tronic communications and thus violated federal law.

   The consultants said they spent a year trying to get the FBI to 
check into the county's legal standing in seizing private communications
without a warrant.  According to the lawsuit, the U.S. Attorney's 
Office provided "no substantive response" to Henson's request for
investigation.  A letter dated Nov. 4, 1988, and addressed to Rep.
Norman Mineta (D-San Jose) from the U.S. Department of Justice said 
that "there is no competent evidence upon which to base a federal 

   The U.S. Attorney's Office, on behalf of the FBI, has yet to file
an answer to Henson's complaint and refused comment on the lawsuit.

[ Keith Henson recently posted a message to the USENET misc.legal newsgroup
  (Subject: Re: Suit filed to force FBI to enforce privacy provisions of ECPA)
  that presented the response to his letter to the U.S. Attorney's Office
  (which was included in the FBI ECPA suit).  Briefly, the U.S. Attorney's
  Office again declined to investigate and Henson's misc.legal message
  includes his reply to their reply, where he corrects some of their
  misconceptions and asks some pointed questions to help pierce through
  some of the fog they generated. - Kevin Q. Brown ]

   The class-action suit seeks to represent all users of E-mail as 
well as members of Alcor.  The nonprofit organization will store all
or part of the bodies of its members at death at very low temperatures
"until medical technology exists so that they can be revived,"
according to Hugh Hixon, Alcor board member.  "Evading death is a very 
serious matter," he said.

   Specialists in computer security law say that the Electronic 
Privacy Act is ill-defined and has little case-law to back it up.

   Jonathan Wallace, a New York attorney specializing in computer-
related law, said the act's biggest problem is that "it doesn't
clarify [E-mail such as Alcor's] status as a closed system."

   He added that if the judge issuing the warrant was not told of the
E-mail existence, then Henson "has a decent argument."

   The act requires that a warrant can be issued for E-mail "only
if a governmental entity shows ... relevancy to a legitimate law
enforcement inquiry."

   The lawsuit asks that the FBI investigate the actions of
Riverside County law enforcement in this matter.  Meanwhile, the
county, which is not named in the case, has handed its investigation
into the possible homicide of Dora Kent to the grand jury.

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