(CNet) The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t believe it needs a search warrant to read your e-mail.

Newly disclosed documents prepared by IRS lawyers says that Americans enjoy “generally no privacy” in their e-mail, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and similar online communications — meaning that they can be perused without obtaining a search warrant signed by a judge.

That places the IRS at odds with a growing sentiment among many judges and legislators who believe that Americans’ e-mail messages should be protected from warrantless search and seizure. They say e-mail should be protected by the same Fourth Amendment privacy standards that require search warrants for hard drives in someone’s home, or a physical letter in a filing cabinet.

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.