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Search warrant needed before email review
WASHINGTON (AP) — Over objections from law enforcement officials, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Thursday that would require police to obtain a search warrant from a judge before they can review a person's emails or other electronic communications.
The bill makes it slightly more difficult for the government to access the content of a consumer's emails and private files from Google, Yahoo, Facebook and other Internet providers. Under the current law, the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a warrant is needed only for emails less than 6 months old.
The committee chairman and the bill's sponsor, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said digital files on a computer should have the same safeguards as paper files stored in a home. Americans "face even greater threats to their digital privacy, as we witness the explosion of new technologies and the expansion of the government's surveillance powers," Leahy said during the committee's vote on the legislation. The full Senate is expected to vote on the bill early next year. A House committee hasn't yet voted on a similar bill.
Passage of the bill comes just a few weeks after the stunning resignation of David Petraeus as the head of the CIA over an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. The case focused the public's attention on how easy it is for federal agents to access people's email accounts.
When citizens overthrew the dictatorships in Egypt and Libya this year, they uncovered listening rooms where devices from Gamma corporation of the UK, Amesys of France, VASTech of South Africa and ZTE Corp of China monitored their every move online and on the phone.
In January 2011, the National Security Agency broke ground on a $1.5 billion facility in the Utah desert that is designed to store terabytes of domestic and foreign intelligence data forever and process it for years to come. Telecommunication companies are forthcoming when it comes to disclosing client information to the authorities - no matter the country. Headlines during August’s unrest in the UK exposed how Research in Motion (RIM), makers of the Blackberry, offered to help the government identify their clients. RIM has been in similar negotiations to share BlackBerry Messenger data with the governments of India, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Originally posted by CALGARIAN
What about NSA and CIA and FBI? Are they "police"?