The Hill: Let’s close the email privacy loophole now

The Hill: Let’s close the email privacy loophole now by Patrick Leahy & Mike Lee:

This week the House of Representatives took an historic step for Americans’ privacy rights. By an overwhelming vote of 419-0, it passed bipartisan legislation to protect Americans’ email and other information in the cloud from warrantless searches. Now that the House has passed the Email Privacy Act to finally update our laws for the digital age and without a single opposing vote, the Senate should do the same.

The Email Privacy Act would require the government to go before a judge and get a search warrant based on probable cause whenever it seeks to obtain our emails, photos, or texts held by technology companies. This bipartisan bill updates a law, the Electronic Communications Protect Act (ECPA), that was written 30 years ago—before the widespread use of email. The type of information that we send and store electronically today looks nothing like it did then. ECPA’s arcane rules for protecting electronic information no longer make sense. As a result, papers in your filing cabinets have more legal protections than emails in your inbox.

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