Reform to require warrant for private online messages up for vote, but down on privacy

November 25, 2012

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The Department of Justice argues it can read your private electronic messages, like emails and private Facebook messages, older than 180 days without a warrant, due to an archaic distinction in the outdated Electronic Privacy and Communications Act (ECPA), EFF Deeplinks reports.

Senator Leahy wants to change this and has scheduled a markup hearing the week of Nov. 26. Months ago, he offered language clarifying that the government must obtain a warrant for all private messages; however, recently released bill language keeps the 180-day requirement for civil regulatory agencies like the FTC, SEC, and others.