Originally published: January 26, 2013
Last updated: February 14, 2013 - 4:43pm
Facebook and the three largest email providers told The Hill this week that they require police to obtain a search warrant before accessing their users' private online communications.
The policies of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook go beyond the privacy standards of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), a 1986 law that only requires police to obtain a subpoena, issued without a judge's approval, to read emails, instant messages and other forms of digital communication that have been opened or that are more than 180 days old. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is pushing legislation that would update ECPA to require police to obtain a warrant before seizing electronic messages, regardless of how old they are. He argues the law is badly out of date and fails to protect Internet users' privacy. But the four Web companies said they all already refuse to turn over their customers' communications unless the police have a warrant. The companies argue that the Fourth Amendment provides more legal protection to their users than ECPA does.
- House bill would require police to obtain search warrant to access e-mails
- Senate panel votes to require warrant for police e-mail searches
- Appeals court: Feds need warrants for e-mail
- House Judiciary Wades Into Electronic Communications Privacy Act Reform
- Senate bill would require warrant for e-mail searches
- Senate Judiciary Committee to vote on email privacy bill
- Senate panel to take up e-mail privacy bill
- House to consider e-mail privacy bill
- IRS: We can read emails without warrant
- Senate Judiciary panel votes to require warrants for police e-mail searches
- AG Holder backs warrant requirement for most e-mail searches
- Google’s approach to government requests for user data
- Proposals to end warrantless e-mail searches gain momentum in Congress
- Could Google's Push for Digital Privacy Changes Affect Law Enforcement?
- Rep Lofgren unveils privacy and Internet freedom bills