The American government used a controversial secret court order to obtain information on the email accounts of WikiLeaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum, from Google Inc. and small-time Internet Service Provider (ISP) Sonic.net Inc.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, the government acquired email addresses of all the people Appelabaum corresponded with, over the last two years.
The 28-year-old computer scientist has, however, not been charged with any wrongdoing.
In the order, the court asked Google and Sonic to share the IP addresses used by Appelbaum to access his Gmail account and the IP addresses of the people he exchanged emails with.
The Attorney General's office obtained the records without a search warrant and while Google and Sonic fought to inform Appelbaum of the investigation, the court ruled against them. The entire process calls into question the protection supposedly offered by the Fourth Amendment, against unreasonable search and seizure, Business Insider reported.
Micro-blogging sites were also ordered to hand over account information of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and other members of the Web site.