In a statement by Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "E-mail users expect that their Hotmail and Gmail inboxes are just as private as their postal mail and their telephone calls. The government tried to get around this common sense conclusion, but the Constitution applies online as well as offline, as the court correctly found."
The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals decision deals a blow to the US Government practice of accessing stored email accounts under the Stored Communications Act.
The Court decided that Hotmail and Gmail accounts are considered private and the government must secure a search warrant to access the information.
The courts statement said,
"We have little difficulty agreeing with the district court that individuals maintain a reasonable expectation of privacy in e-mails that are stored with, or sent or received through, a commercial Internet service provider. The content of e-mail is something that the user seeks to preserve as private, and therefore may be constitutionally protected."
It does not impact business email or employees using business email accounts to exchange private email.