According to Wired, Google asks for a search warrant as a pre-requisite to fulfill requests about data access of users’ emails or any other documents stored in Google’s cloud. According to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in the United States, where Google is based, law enforcement authorities can ask for an access to any data that has been stored for more than 180 days on a server by presenting a subpoena for it. Those emails which have been left on a server for more than six months are considered rejected.
This law was formed in 1986. Back in those days, emails and their data were deleted automatically after a user has downloaded the data and the concept of cloud storage was not shaped as such like now, although it is said to be first thought about in the 1960s. But the thinkers did not foreseen that the world would become such a complex place for both laws and freedom of the internet to exist together without creating challenging issues.
Google understands cloud computing and its implications for the world’s communication more than law enforcement agencies and thus in practice is rejecting this outdated law. Certainly the law needs to evolve with the changes in issues of the times.
Furthermore, the interpretation of the law is also another issue which creates such diverging viewpoints. Google is in a better position to interpret such a law that directly affects its users and their privacy as well as the company’s own privacy policies and customer trust.