If you’re thinking about dropping your personal or business email address into an email service provider’s cloud service, you should know that you may be violating the law, according to a new report from The Information.
According to the report, a federal judge in Maryland ruled in August that an email provider could not refuse service to people whose email addresses are tied to a person’s identity when the service provider is required to protect the identity of the individual.
While the ruling didn’t specifically address the email provider, the information that it contained made clear that email providers could not deny service to users who used an email address associated with a person who was not their intended recipient.
In its ruling, the judge wrote that email services have to comply with federal law that prohibits “unlawful or unlawful collection, use, retention, or disclosure” of personal or other information, and that email service providers have to ensure that the information they receive is secure and not shared without appropriate authorization.
The judge also pointed to a Supreme Court case that stated email service companies are required to notify consumers when they’ve received a court order or subpoena related to their account.
The Information reports that the federal government has argued that email accounts must be tied to the intended recipient of the email.
While that’s a fairly common legal requirement, it has never been applied to email addresses used by companies to provide services.
While it’s unclear whether the decision in Maryland will have a large impact on the way email services handle customers’ email addresses, the ruling could lead to a legal battle.
The case is U.S. v.
E-mail, LLC, et al., and is scheduled for trial in October.