E.D.N.Y.: Email SWs are treated the same as hard drive warrants: The entirety may be seized so it can be searched by keyword

Email search warrants are treated the same as hard drive warrants: The entirety may be seized so it can be searched by keyword to find relevant material. Moreover, the good faith exception applies. United States v. Chalavoutis, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207315 (E.D. N.Y. Dec. 2, 2019):

Courts have applied the same analysis to email accounts as they have to hard drives. See Google, 33 F. Supp. 3d at 394 (“We perceive no constitutionally significant difference between the searches of hard drives just discussed and searches of email accounts. Indeed, in many cases, the data in an email account will be less expansive than the information that is typically contained on a hard drive.”); Robinson, 2018 WL 5928120 at *18 (“language in the Email Warrant authorizing the search for `everything’ in the Gmail Account” did not require suppression). The Google court noted that “every case of which we are aware that has entertained a suppression motion relating to the search of an email account has upheld the Government’s ability to obtain the entire contents of the email account to determine which particular emails come within the search warrant.” Google, 33 F. Supp. 3d at 394 (collecting cases).

Thus, despite its failure to incorporate the affidavit, this Warrant nonetheless conforms to warrants that have been consistently upheld in this Court and others. While it allowed a broad search of Defendant’s email accounts, it limited the information to be seized by the Government in several ways: by reference to the crimes investigated, the participants, a time frame, and types of information and documents. The Court does not disagree with Defendant’s contentions that these limitations did little to narrow the scope of the information to be seized: the time frame was six years, the participants included all unnamed co-conspirators, and the warrant allowed the seizure of any evidence indicating how and when Chalvoutis’ email account was accessed or used. But under applicable law, the warrant passes muster.

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