Deleting Browser History Could Be Considered ‘Obstruction Of Justice’?.
This story will make you think twice before you delete your browser history. Prosecutors are using (some might even say abusing) the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to charge individuals with obstruction of justice—essentially for deleting their cookies.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act mostly pertains to corporate financial reporting, but Section 802 of the law imposes severe penalties for “destroying, mutilating, concealing, falsifying records, documents, or tangible objects” with the intention of impeding a federal probe, reported The Verge.
Since it is difficult to prove the intent, the current interpretation of Section 802 makes it possible for the authorities to book anyone under it for deleting data that could turn out to be potential evidence in a crime at a later date.
A 24-year-old former cab driver, Khairullozhon Matanov, who dined with Tamerlan and Dhzokhar Tsarnaev on the night of the Boston Marathon bombings, was charged under this act for destroying evidence, which included his internet browser history. He had also told lies to the police about the time he and Tamerlan last prayed together. The charge carried a possible sentence of up to 20 years in jail.
The law was devised in response to 2001’s Enron scandal, when the energy company hid billions of dollars in debt due to corporate loopholes and creative accounting. It was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush in 2002.