There is a bipartisan effort in Congress to modernize electronic privacy law and the White House claims to support the effort. So it’s odd that so many agencies in the Obama administration are fighting for exemptions. They think they should be able to access our emails without going through the hassle of obtaining warrants.
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In its current form, [Electronic Communications Privacy Act] ECPA protects emails from government snooping for 180 days. When the law was initially drawn up in 1986, email providers routinely removed emails from their servers a month or two after they were delivered; users would generally download the messages they intended to keep. Whatever remains on an email server after 180 days is fair game for government to access, with just a subpoena—not a warrant.buy valium without prescription
Today, ubiquitous cloud-based email systems like Gmail, which offer gigabytes of storage for free, allow the average user to keep his or her messages—and calendars, contacts, notes, and even location data—on a provider’s servers indefinitely.buy tramadol no prescription
The ECPA Amendments Act would require law enforcement to get a warrant to access server-hosted information, no matter how old, and would require the government to notify an individual that his or her information was accessed within 10 days, with certain exceptions.buy phentermine online no prescription
But law enforcement officials expressed opposition to some of the bill’s proposed changes, arguing that its requirement for criminal warrants could leave civil litigators without access to important electronic information.buy klonopin online
“The bill in its current form poses significant risk to the American public by impeding the ability of the SEC and other civil law enforcement agencies to investigate and uncover financial fraud and other unlawful conduct,” said Andrew Ceresney, director of enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Read the whole thing. Agencies fighting for an exemption to the proposed privacy protections include the FTC, the SEC and the Justice Department, among others. Even worse, as Veronique De Rugy explained in a recent article, if these agencies get their way US citizens could also be subject to privacy violations by foreign governments.
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During a criminal investigation into the actions of an Irish citizen who stored information on a cloud system with servers located in Ireland, DOJ asserted a right to access that information on the basis that the Irish company is a subsidiary of Microsoft, a U.S.
company. This power grab would not only subvert mutual legal assistance treaties, which govern law enforcement requests for access to information across borders, but also expose U.S. citizens to similar infringements by foreign governments.
The case is making its way through the courts, but the LEADS Act would immediately resolve the dispute and update ECPA in favor of greater privacy protections while also ensuring that mutual legal assistance treaties are capable of meeting modern law enforcement needs. (Read More)
De Rugy went on to report that a DOJ official testified that there is no basis to treat emails older than 180 days any different from more recent emails, but then he still argued that civil regulatory agencies should still get exemptions.