It’s no secret that the United States government has had unsettlingly easy access to its citizens’ e-mails for quite some time. The ability of the Government to cite “national security concerns” to circumvent the need for a warrant has been standard operating procedure since briefly after the September 11th attacks of 2001, although the legislation that allowed this to happen is much older. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act, passed in 1986, allows law enforcement to obtain access to e-mails without the need for a warrant.
In an unusual act of common sense, a group of legislators from both sides of the aisle have come together to form a bill that would force police to obtain a warrant before gaining access to personal e-mails. The new bill, proposed by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and supported by Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA), seeks to extend privacy protections for both e-mail and location privacy.