US Congress Passes Email Privacy Act

A big win for privacy activists

The United States House of Representatives has passed the Email Privacy Act, which requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant if they want access to emails – including emails held on tech company servers or devices (like your smartphone).

At present, America’s top law enforcement agencies only need a subpoena to access the emails. Subpoena’s have less judicial oversight relative to warrants.

Email Privacy Act may not pass Senate

While passing the Republican controlled House, the Email Privacy Act will face a tough road in the Senate.

Some top Republican senators are worried the law would complicate surveillance efforts – which many Senators view as a necessary tool in combatting terrorism.

An example of the dispute between tech companies and the government took place when the FBI wanted to order Apple to open the locked iPhone of the San Bernardino terrorists.

As the world changes, the time has certainly come for updates.

After all, the current law governing the relationship between emails and the government is based on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) which was passed in 1986.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – Twitter