The US Patriot Act allows for the US Government to access personal information that is held by anyone within the United States and that includes the new MTS mail service!! or any US citizen by two different methods. The first tool which the US Government possesses is found in Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Under this section the relevant Government agency must apply to a court for an order allowing them to access the personal information in question. The information which can be collected pursuant to this court order is very broad. The second tool which the US Government has is found in Section 505 of the Patriot Act. It is under this section that the Government can issue National Security Letters whereby they can request that personal information be disclosed to them. The information can be accessed where it meets the following criteria: that the information sought is relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. No court order is necessary for a National Security Letter to be issued; however, the type of information that is retrievable is more limited than through that available in a Section 215 (see above) order.I guess you have not heard of the police of Canada wanting to have a users ISP store all your Internet data. And that includes all emails, voip, websites visited, etc. Just in case you might commit a crime at some point in your life. About two years of rolling data would be stored.
And the basic thing the Canadian police want is access to your email address and account details without a warrant, or evidence of criminal activity that would allow for a legal warrant.
The US Government's ability to access your personal information differ from the Canadian Government's ability to do so? In Canada, like in the United States, the Government has wide abilities to view personal information that is held in email accounts. The Canadian Government's ability to do this is found in various pieces of Canadian legislation including the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, the National Defence Act, and others.
The key difference between Canada and the United States is that, in general, the Canadian legislation requires that all warrants for the seizure of personal information must be issued by a judge! However, it still remains that the application to the court for this order/warrant will be made without the knowledge of either the holder of the information or the person who is the subject of the information.
There have been a number of recent bills introduced in the Canadian House of Commons which would increase the scope of information that is available to the Canadian Government and also decrease the number of restraints preventing the Government from accessing that information.
Should you wish to see further information regarding the Canadian system for intelligence gathering you can visit the website for The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and review a Position Statement produced by that office.