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
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…)