Senator Seeks to Require Warrant for Email Searches

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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In 1986, when ECPA was originally enacted, electronic messaging was the exception rather than the norm for written communication.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... Read Full Bio
Michelle Stinson Ross
Michelle Stinson Ross
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  • Digital Skratch

    Absolutely support it. They have no right to do that otherwise. It’s about time someone fights for our rights rather then shred what little liberties we have left.

  • Paul

    I agree we need to fight back and stop this big brother mentality before it cripples the internet.