Corporations seeking metadata? Yup.

Corporations seeking metadata? Yup.

by digby

So you think the government needs to access your communication records if it thinks it needs to do so to protect the country.  But what if it's a corporation seeking to retaliate against people who won a judgement against them in another country?

On June 25, a federal judge approved a subpoena, to be served by Chevron to Microsoft, granting the oil company private Internet and phone data related to 30 email addresses, including those related to environmental nonprofits, activists, journalists and lawyers.

This information forms part of a larger fishing expedition by Chevron to go after those who won an $18 billion judgment against the company in Ecuador in February 2011 for dumping 18.5 billion gallons of highly toxic waste into the streams and rivers in the rainforests of eastern Ecuador.

In its retaliatory lawsuit, Chevron claims that "this judgment is the product of fraud." And it is seeking the IP addresses of individuals involved in the suit over a nine-year period.

In particular, the subpoena calls for the production of all documents related to “the identity of the users of the email addresses, including 'all names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, billing information, date of account creation, account information and all other identifying information.”

Like the NSA, Chevron claims that "the subpoena does not call for contents of emails sent or received by any of the thirty email addresses." It does however request Microsoft to "produce documents identifying the account holders and their available personal information" and "the IP address connected with every subsequent login to each account over a nine-year period."

As the subpoena itself states, it would allow Chevron to determine the countries, states, cities and even building addresses from which accounts were used.

Chevron also served subpoenas around September 18, 2012,to Google and Yahoo, demanding IP logs and identifying information for approximately 71 email accounts. Earth Rights International and the Electronic Front Foundation filed a motion to quash these subpoenas on First Amendment grounds in northern California on November 28, 2012.

Yes, it appears to be legal. So what?