This week on The Communicators, Gregory Nojeim, Center for Democracy & Technology, Director for Project on Freedom, Security & Technology and Konrad Motyka, President of the FBI Agents Association, discuss privacy of email and electronic communications.
The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday approved a change to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act that requires law enforcement authorities and other government agencies to obtain a warrant when they want to read through Americans’ email. Currently, some agencies can use their own subpoenas without receiving a court-issued warrant to get access to email that has been opened or is more than 180 days old.
The ECPA was written in 1986, before email was widely used or stored for long periods on servers operated by third parties. And those that operate servers sometimes have differing policies about what to do when government agents make requests to view email.
The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy is the one of the authors of the ECPA and he wants to update the law through this amendment. The amendment is not expected to go to the Senate floor until next year.