Senator Seeks to Require Warrant for Email Searches

House Judiciary Hearings on SOPASenator Patrick Leahy (D Vermont) has introduced a bill to amend the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The amendment would require that law enforcement officers obtain a warrant to collect various forms of electronic communication stored by a third party. Along with email messages, correspondences via Facebook, Twitter, IM, etc. would be protected from search without a warrant.

In 1986, when ECPA was originally enacted, electronic messaging was the exception rather than the norm for written communication. It was assumed that messages not stored locally by the user were no longer of value to them, and that messages older than six months stored by the service provider were considered abandoned.

As the current law stands, authorities can request user messages from third-party providers with nothing more than stating they have a probable cause to believe that the information would aid in an investigation.

Senator Leahy’s amendment bill is on the docket for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.

Were you aware that your communication was this vulnerable? Would you support Senator Leahy’s bill?

Michelle Stinson Ross

Michelle Stinson Ross

Content & Outreach Goddess at AuthorityLabs
Michelle Stinson Ross is a digital marketing industry recognized authority on the outreach power of social media. She has worked as a community manager and consultant for several brands to increase brand awareness, raise the visibility of special promotions, and train their teams to use the social space to connect with media influencers and the public. Michelle is part of the marketing team at AuthorityLabs and co-hosts #SocialChat, a Twitter based live chat that covers a variety of topics geared toward social media marketing (Mondays at 9 p.m. ET). Her passion for social media marketing has made her a regular conference speaker at events like ClickZ Live, and Search Marketing Expo. She has also been a featured guest on Webmaster Radio and several industry Hangouts on Air.
Michelle Stinson Ross
Michelle Stinson Ross

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