Nov 202012
 November 20, 2012  Posted by  Laws, Surveillance, U.S.

Update: Senator Leahy denies that he is supporting changes described by CNET, below.  At 1:01 today, his office tweeted:

Ideas from many sources always circulate b4 a markup 4 disc., but Sen.Leahy does NOT support such an exception for #ECPA search warrants


The whole point of the Leahy reforms is 2 require search warrants 4 govt to access email stored with 3-party service providers under #ECPA

Update 2:  Declan is not retracting his story and suggests that the Senator is backing off in light of public reaction:

Alternate explanation: Sen. Leahy responded to public criticism. Senate Judiciary aides were definitely not saying that yesterday.

Declan McCullagh reports:

A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans’ e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law.

CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans’ e-mail, is scheduled for next week

Leahy’s rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies — including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission — to access Americans’ e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant.

Read more on CNET while I ponder whether it’s time for Senator Leahy to retire. (Update: Well, if CNET reported inaccurately, maybe the Senator doesn’t need to retire…)

  2 Responses to “Senate bill rewrite lets feds read your e-mail without warrants (UPDATE2)”

  1. U.S. Senate bill Rewritten So Cops / Feds Can Read Your Email Without Warrants.

    After Sen. Patrick Leahy’s warrant-less Internet Access bill is passed, Americans should expect a spike in arrests and property forfeitures by the feds and local police.

    [bulk of article deleted by]

    You may read more about Sen. Patrick Leahy’s reworked privacy bill H.R. 2471 at CNET:

  2. Thanks, but I’m not sure why you re-posted Declan’s entire article, as I had already linked to it in this blog post and Senator Leahy’s office had disputed its accuracy. You may want to see the follow-up post at for a significant update on this controversy.

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