SEC And Chuck Grassley Still Trying To Stop Email Privacy Act That Got UNANIMOUS Support In The House
from the because-fuck-the-4th-amendment,-that's-why dept
Hey, remember last week, when lots of folks were super excited about the US House of Representatives unanimously voting in favor of the Email Privacy Act? They voted 419 to 0. That kinda thing doesn’t happen all that often. I mean, sure it happens when condemning ISIS, but they couldn’t even make it when trying to put sanctions on North Korea. Basically, something needs to be really, really screwed up to get a unanimous vote in the House. And the Email Privacy Act, which goes a long way (though not far enough) towards fixing ECPA (the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986) that makes it way too easy for the government to snoop on your electronic communications, actually got that unanimous vote.
So it should be moving forward and well on its path to becoming law, right? Right?!? Well… about that. You see, as we’d mentioned in the past, the SEC has been the main voice of opposition to the Email Privacy Act, since it (along with the IRS), kinda like the fact that they can snoop through emails without a warrant. Never mind that it’s probably unconstitutional, it makes their jobs so much easier. And, really, isn’t that the important thing?
Apparently, Senator Chuck Grassley thinks so. And, hey, bad luck for, well, everyone, because Grassley just happens to be the guy in charge of moving the bill forward on the Senate side. And he’s not having any of it right now, claiming that there are “concerns” about the bill:
?Members of this committee on both sides of the aisle have expressed concerns about the details of this reform, and whether it?s balanced to reflect issues raised by law enforcement,? said Sen. Charles Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Thursday.
Concerns? It didn’t seem like anyone in the House was concerned about it because (I should remind you) it passed unanimously. And that’s because it’s really only making fairly common sense changes to the law to require a warrant (as required by the 4th Amendment) to snoop on emails.
And just what “law enforcement” issues have been raised? Sounds like it’s our friends at the SEC yet again:
The Securities and Exchange Commission is still fighting a House-passed bill to require law enforcement to get a warrant before obtaining messages from email providers. ?[The Email Privacy Act] would create a dangerous digital shelter for fraudsters,? SEC Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney said in a statement to POLITICO. ?The privacy interests the bill addresses can be fully achieved without blocking civil law enforcement agencies like the SEC from obtaining the evidence it needs to protect investors.?
No. Actually, it doesn’t create a “digital shelter for fraudsters.” That’s SEC Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney lying through his teeth. It just means that the 4th Amendment needs to be obeyed when obtaining emails that are hosted on cloud providers. Just like a warrant is needed to obtain someone’s personal papers. It’s not creating a digital shelter. It’s harmonizing the rules for digital content so they match the rules for physical documents and communications. And, in doing so, protecting the privacy and the very concept of the 4th Amendment.
Either way, all that momentum in the House may be for nothing if the SEC and Grassley get their way.