WikiLeaks journalist and Courage Foundation acting director Sarah Harrison displayed a redacted copy of the warrant during her presentation on source protection at the Chaos Communications Congress yesterday in Hamburg, Germany.
The warrant was dated for execution by April 5, 2012 by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and it was apparently part of the continuing investigation by the Justice Department into criminal charges against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
It is not clear whose e-mail was searched and details were not provided, and Wikileaks is a little er secretive about who works there. According to a statement on the organisation’s website, “Given the high level assassination threats against WikiLeaks staff, we cannot disclose exact details about our team members.”
A Google spokesperson said in a statement: that it did not talk about individual cases to help protect all its users.
When it received a subpoena or court order, Google check to see if it meets both the letter and the spirit of the law before complying. And if it doesn’t, it asks that the request is narrowed.
“We have a track record of advocating on behalf of our users,” a spokesGoogle said.
This is the second time a US warrant has been served at Google for data from someone connected to WikiLeaks. A sealed warrant was served to Google in 2011 for the email of a WikiLeaks volunteer in Iceland. The Justice Department has also previously sought to get metadata from WikiLeaks-connected Twitter accounts, and won a court battle with Twitter three years ago to force it to hand it over.