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.

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  • identicon
    Quiet Lurcker, 9 May 2016 @ 8:28am

    So, no third-party doctrine for the SEC? Or are they just keeping mum about it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 8:34am

    and whether it’s balanced to reflect issues raised by law enforcement,

    The primary concern of law enforcement is to get carte blanche to search whoever and whatever they want whenever they want, along the the right to seize whatever they want.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      ThatOneOtherGuy, 9 May 2016 @ 8:49am

      Re:

      Don't let Digger see this... He might say that if enough law enforcement people break the law, then the citizens of the United States might get angry and do what Thomas Jefferson says needs to be done every so often.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        diggery doo, 9 May 2016 @ 8:56am

        Re: Re:wtf?

        talk about off topic

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          ThatOneOtherGuy, 9 May 2016 @ 9:17am

          Re: Re: Re:wtf?

          Really? Offtopic you say?

          The primary concern of law enforcement is to get carte blanche to search whoever and whatever they want whenever they want, along the the right to seize whatever they want.

          Seems dead on target, pardon the hyperbole.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          I.T. Guy, 9 May 2016 @ 9:28am

          Re: Re: Re:wtf?

          Is your name Wilbur, Wilbert, or wiLLie in real life?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 10:40am

          Re: Re: Re:wtf?

          I think your a bit off topic, these people need to quit breathing our air, if not I see something bad happening to them in the future.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 9:41am

      Re:

      Law enforcement also likes to have the ability to do searches without those searches becoming public record -- this especially applies to SEC investigators, as the people they're investigating are pretty savvy, and likely watching for any possible court documents related to their actions.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 12:33pm

      Re:

      as well as murder, sorry "defend themselves against unarmed and unresisting citizens"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 9 May 2016 @ 8:36am

    Ceresney is being truthful here.

    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.

    But the 4th Amendment is creating a shelter, for everyone including fraudsters, against uncontrolled access of law enforcement.

    A shelter that is important enough that the Founding Fathers spelled it out explicitly in the Bill of Rights.

    Ceresney is entirely correct here. He just doesn't explain why people shouldn't be sheltered from uncontrolled access of the government to their communications, given that the U.S. was founded on distinctly different principles than, say, North Korea.

    Personally, I think that all officials who don't find themselves agreeing to the principles they have taken an oath on should be expatriated and sent to North Korea or other countries better matching their political leanings.

    It's a pity that this sort of treatment, namely effective expatriation, is reserved for the likes of Edward Snowden, namely people who consider the principles of the U.S. to have a tighter grips on their morals than the officials of the U.S.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 8:57am

    if law enforcement and supporters had their way there would be no constitution and no rights whatever. they would laugh in the faces of our forefathers who envisioned a nation unlike the awful places they came from.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 9:24am

    What are the odds Grassley supports organized crime in exchange for cash payoffs I wonder

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ottermaton (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 9:53am

    A single Senator?

    I'm hoping someone can clarify this:

    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.

    Is that for real? Is it really possible for a single man to block legislation in this way? On one hand it wouldn't surprise me that our corrupt system is so severely flawed, but on the other this is not the way it SHOULD be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      R.H. (profile), 10 May 2016 @ 7:17am

      Re: A single Senator?

      In order for a bill to reach the floor of the Senate, it must first pass through a committee related to the primary function of the bill. Since this bill deals with law enforcement, that committee is the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senator Grassley is the current chairman of that committee. Since the chairman alone decides the agenda of the committee (which bills they will consider) he can, single-handedly, kill bills in the Senate.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 10 May 2016 @ 2:06pm

        Re: Re: A single Senator?

        If you want a system comparatively robust against corruption, you need to avoid single points of success like that.

        You can bribe some people all of the time, and all people some of the time, but you cannot bribe all people all of the time.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Personanongrata, 10 May 2016 @ 3:58pm

      Re: A single Senator?

      Is that for real? Is it really possible for a single man to block legislation in this way? On one hand it wouldn't surprise me that our corrupt system is so severely flawed, but on the other this is not the way it SHOULD be.

      Yes it is true. There is a procedure in the US Senate rules that allows a senator to place what is known as a "hold" on a motion that would prevent a motion from reaching the senate floor for a vote.

      Some senators being spineless rapscallions they are use another senate procedure called an "anonymous hold" which allows for the spineless senator to anonymously prevent a motion from reaching the senate floor for vote. In order for this procedure to be most effective at least one other just as spineless senator is needed to "Tag-Team" the motion by rotating the hold between them every two days in order to circumvent senate rules.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senate_hold

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 10:20am

    Aaaawww, it's so hard to waste 30 minutes getting a warrant to see data that will be exactly where it was when these 30 minutes and a few days after them are over, no? If memory serves the issue was with e-mails older than 180 days (correct me if the number is wrong) so it would be very distressing to wait a few more days to get a warrant because suddenly somebody is going to remember 180 days old messages left behind, right?

    And let's be honest here, if there is real danger of deletion (there isn't, the companies keep records of deleted stuff even when they shouldn't) they can justify it and still get any evidence found to be accepted in a case.

    This is pure bullshit. This is law enforcement being little tyrants and wanting absolute power.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 10:30am

    Representative government at it's finest

    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

    So all of the representatives in one house are in favor of the bill, but because one of them in the other house doesn't like it it's entirely possible that the bill will die off.

    Remember people, the system is perfect, so you get the government you want and deserve. Things like this where one person can screw the entire nation over simply don't happen, it's all the fault of the public for not voting in the right people. /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 10 May 2016 @ 7:29am

      Re: Representative government at it's finest

      It's not too hard to lean on that one person hard enough to make him change his mind. Making politicians fear for their jobs, SOPA-style, gets things done.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 9 May 2016 @ 10:54am

    3rd Party Doctrine

    Let's go the "Full Monty" on the 3rd Party Doctrine. If, as they say, people have no expectation of privacy when they have information (emails,etc) held by a third, then everyone should have access. Let everyone have a look at all of this "Public" information. Let's see if we really have no expectation of privacy...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 11:07am

    It is VITAL that the SEC have uninhibited access to everyone's email to ensure that no type of insider trading hanky panky is going on.

    Members of congress (and their family's) doing some insider trading? TOTALLY LEGAL.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 11:20am

    you know....I find it odd... these same people that are calling Bernie Sanders a communist... are passing laws, engaging in police practices, etc. that LITERALLY STALIN. STALIN, and MAO USED. I think they are trying to deflect from their own communist tendencies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 12:31pm

    With eminent domain and civil forfeiture they have stolen everything else, now they are after our ideas, due to the unpleasant fact that they can not think for themselves. Enough is enough. Hope you have a good algorithm to sort through all of the junk, lunatics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 9 May 2016 @ 3:00pm

    Legit concern

    Of course there is legit concerns. Someone added a proposal to limit the amount of donations a member of congress can get. Along with banning swiss cheese for some reason. That is how laws get passed. Adding onto other must have laws...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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