A UK man has been sent to jail for 20 years for a drug trafficking conspiracy thanks to a draft in his Yahoo email that he thought was deleted that revealed his conspiracy. He was already in jail, and Russell Knaggs came up with a scheme to have someone else write a draft of an email and save it. Another person, located in Columbia, would read the draft, delete it, and then write another in reply to it. The idea was that he could avoid sending emails that could be traced by cops. However, he didn't realize that Yahoo would keep the deleted drafts for a long time.
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Yahoo found the emails and forwarded them to law enforcement, who used them to convict Knaggs. The problem is that if the emails were deleted or trashed, they should have been impossible to recover.
"If a user deletes a communication from his or her account, the communication becomes inaccessible to [our] proprietary tools," says Yahoo's Michele Lai to Motherboard.
Knaggs' lawyer suspects that the records were found by what he calls "bulk-data gathering, live monitoring, [or] interception," by the federal government. It might be smart to note that this all happened before Snowden. In order to prove the theory, a petition has been filed against Yahoo to disclose its exact retrieval method. The company has dismissed the "fanciful" idea and said that they were recovered from auto-saved drafts.
"The evidence produced was not the product of US government surveillance, but rather was captured ... using a Yahoo proprietary tool in response to ordinary legal process, even though [Knaggs] and his co-conspirators thought they had deleted the evidence."
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Make sure you don't do anything illegal when you are on your computer, because you never know when it will be used against you.