E-Mail Intercepting Is Officially Legal

When Bradford Councilman, the owner of a web site hawking rare and unique books, offered his customers a free e-mail service, he didn’t tell them that he had “installed code that intercepted and copied any e-mail that came to them from his competitor, Amazon.com. Although Councilman did not prevent the mail from reaching recipients, he read thousands of copied messages in order to know what books customers were seeking and gain a commercial advantage over Amazon.” However, in a surprise ruling, a Massachusetts court has found that Councilman did not violate any laws, effectively legalizing such tactics, and setting up a howl from privacy advocates.