Investigators relied on 18 U.S.C. § 2703(f) to compel Yahoo! to copy and preserve Mr. Basey’s emails and other account data—without getting a warrant—for nine months. This prolonged, warrantless seizure is typical of a growing nationwide practice: one where investigators regularly issue secret demands to preserve individuals’ private account data just in case they decide to return with a court order later. Based on public transparency reports, federal and state investigators rely on section 2703(f) to copy and preserve private electronic data tens or hundreds of thousands of times each year. None of these demands require any showing of suspicion, need, or exigency.
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