Senate Judiciary approves ECPA privacy amendment


The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Nov. 29 a bill that would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant to examine emails and other stored electronic communications.

The bill, a substitute amendment by Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), would eliminate the 180-day rule of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which currently permits law enforcement to gain third-party stored communications without a warrant. Leahy's bill would also require the government to notify the individual whose account information was disclosed and provide him with a copy of the warrant--although law enforcement would be able to gain a court order permitting it to delay the notification.

Leahy's substitute amends H.R. 2471, a bill the House approved in December 2011 that allows video service providers to disclose viewing history with consumer consent. Leahy's measure faces opposition from law enforcement agencies.

For more:
- go to a section-by-section breakdown of Leahy's substitute amendment
- go to the THOMAS page for H.R. 2471

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