by Mike Masnick
Thu, Apr 25th 2013 7:30am
Well, that went more smoothly than expected. Today, in a markup for reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in the Senate, the Senate Judiciary Committee very quickly (like 10 minutes after it started) approved an amendment offered by Senators Patrick Leahy and Mike Lee, which would amend the law to make it so that law enforcement needs to get a warrant if it's accessing your email. As we've discussed in the past, the ECPA today is completely outdated, and treats different emails differently -- but a key point is that emails over 180 days old don't require a warrant, just a subpoena, because the law mistakenly judges them to be abandoned. The Amendment was approved by a voice vote, meaning that there was pretty strong support for it. The Leahy-Lee plan is definitely a necessary step in protecting privacy of emails, and while Leahy especially has been pushing it for a while, seeing strong support in the Senate is a good sign for (hopefully) having it become law.
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