Starmer dumps doormat?

Peter Tomlinson pwt at
Sat Jan 15 17:48:46 GMT 2011

From: Wendy M. Grossman [mailto:wendyg at]
> Sent: 15 January 2011 15:52
> To: cb at; UK Cryptography Policy Discussion Group
> Cc: Caspar Bowden (travelling private e-mail)
> Subject: Re: Starmer dumps doormat?
> Why should whether you've heard the messages or not make any difference?
> w
Following up the doormat analogy, my physical doormat is inside my front 
door, so anyone who reaches through the letterbox and picks up a letter 
and opens the envelope but without taking the envelope and contents out 
through the letterbox is, I believe, doing something illegal. If they 
just take the letter away in its envelope and don't open it, I'm sure 
that they are doing something illegal. And if I open the letter and 
leave the contents on the doormat and someone reaches in with a camera 
and reads the letter, they are invading my privacy, but is that illegal? 
The argument seems to have been that listening to a voicemail message 
which is stored in the phone system AND has been listened to by the 
recipient is not illegal - thus it further seems that we service users 
are in a civil law situation where my disagreement is with the service 
provider for not keeping the messages secure until deleted - I think 
that I want something stronger in law, something that responds to the 
very nature of these voicemail messages (and of emails) that for a time 
(perhaps a very considerable time) they are simultaneously both in my 
possession (typically stored in my brain after I have listened to them, 
albeit that that is a fallible storage medium) and stored in the service 
provider's system.

Now I use an internet phone service that parcels up a voicemail message 
into a wav file and sends me that wav file by email (as well as keeping 
the message for me to listen to over the phone)...


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