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Glock Block Supporter
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Senate is planning to vote on whether to adopt the Email Privacy Act, a bill that would require law enforcement to get a search warrant based on probable cause from a judge before reading our emails or documents stored in the cloud. It’s a long overdue fix that’s got support on both sides of the aisle. A strong version of the bill flew through the House of Representatives with unanimous support.
Unfortunately, this vital reform is in jeopardy. Law enforcement groups are pushing for amendments to weaken the bill and create carve-outs for their particular interests.
We can’t let these groups water-down the reform we need to safeguard our privacy. Please join us in calling on the Senate to pass the Email Privacy Act without any weakening amendments. Send an email to your senator today before the vote.
You might be wondering why we need this reform at all. Doesn’t the Fourth Amendment protect our email from government snoops? We certainly think so. Unfortunately, in 1979 the Supreme Court made a lousy decision that didn’t appreciate how technology was revolutionizing our lives. In Smith v Maryland, the Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment didn’t protect the privacy of the numbers we dialed on our phones because we had voluntarily shared those numbers with the phone company when we dialed them. This principleâ€"known as the Third-Party Doctrineâ€" suggested that when we share data with a communications service provider like a telephone company or an email provider, we know our data is being handed to someone else and so we can’t reasonably expect it to be private anymore.
That one ruling created the justification for the government to spend decades attempting to access our emails and digital documents without a warrant, even as advances in data storage meant that our sensitive information was increasingly being stored on remote servers.
Now, the courts are beginning to grasp how technologies have changed the landscape of data control. In 2010 in United States v. Warshak the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals disavowed the Third-Party Doctrine and defended email privacy. That was a huge win for privacy, but that ruling only applies within the jurisdiction of the Sixth Circuit.
But the Supreme Court shows no signs of revisiting the issue, which means today law enforcement can still pressure companies to hand over your email without getting a search warrant from a judge.
We can’t wait years for the Supreme Court to act. We need Congress to clarify that the Fourth Amendment isn’t suspended when you log into your Gmail account.
Please stand with us in demanding reform without compromise. Tell your senators: pass the Email Privacy Act without any weakening amendments.
Thanks for your help,
Rainey Reitman
EFF Activism Director
 

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another law that tells government to respect the law. people should have huge expectations from this.
 

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Swollen Member
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11,969 Posts
another law that tells government to respect the law. people should have huge expectations from this.
To your point, there are zero penalties if they break or ignore the law, including this proposed change. No one goes to jail. No one gets a felony. No one has to pay a $10,000 fine. Basically, no one will obey this law. The only thing it does is make evidence inadmissible.
 
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