- ‘American Dirt’ controversy inspires meme about Latinx stereotypes in literature Wednesday 9:02 PM
- What is the TikTok ‘flex challenge’? Wednesday 8:03 PM
- GoFundMe to send ‘Target Tori’ on vacation raises more than $30K Wednesday 6:54 PM
- Furries stop domestic assault in viral video Wednesday 6:10 PM
- Gritty under police investigation for allegedly punching a teen fan Wednesday 6:04 PM
- Twitter users throw animal parties with emoji in new meme Wednesday 5:21 PM
- Woman who went viral supporting Soleimani killing exposed as Libyan militia lobbyist Wednesday 5:01 PM
- Jeff Bezos subtweets Saudi prince following phone hack report Wednesday 3:29 PM
- ‘Yeah, good. OK’ Bernie Sanders meme is a new way to dismiss people Wednesday 3:10 PM
- ‘Vanderpump Rules’ recap: Petty displays of affection Wednesday 2:12 PM
- Makeup artist transforms into Timothée Chalamet on TikTok Wednesday 1:54 PM
- Iguanas are falling from trees—and people are selling them online for food Wednesday 1:02 PM
- 75,000 sign petition to fire Wendy Williams after ‘cleft lip’ comment about Joaquin Phoenix Wednesday 12:30 PM
- Kim Kardashian says Kylie Jenner’s setting spray is ‘cheap sh*t’ Wednesday 11:59 AM
- Trump continues to demand Apple unlock iPhones for the government Wednesday 11:46 AM
Police might finally need a warrant to search your email
The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved amendments to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, originally introduced in 1986, which would bring the act’s privacy protections into the 21st century.
Do you think law enforcement should need a warrant to read your emails and access your Facebook account?
Assuming your answer is yes, you’re in luck: The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which passed in 1986 and in no way could have anticipated the Internet landscape of 2012, needs updated privacy protections for American citizens.
The ECPA has long been criticized by Internet privacy advocates as a relic. Under the law, police need only a subpoena, not a warrant, to get access to some of Americans’ most private information. Or, as a Washington Post editorial put it, “The advertisements that the Postal Service piles into your mailbox every day are legally sacrosanct; the medical notifications your health-insurance company sends to your Gmail account are not.”
Leading up the vote, there was some confusion whether the Senator who authored the proposed amendments to the ECPA, Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), intended to protect or abolish privacy.
CNET, citing unnamed sources, had claimed the week before that Leahy, already a villain to many Internet activists for writing the infamous Protect IP Act (PIPA), planned to scrap privacy protections. Leahy’s office denied those claims, and Forbes reported that it was actually Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)—yes, the same Chuck Grassley who is likely the least competent twitterer in Washington—who wanted to scrap the privacy amendments, and that Grassley wouldn’t get to overrule Leahy.
Though the Judiciary Committee unanimously agreed on the amendments, don’t start emailing confessions of your many crimes just yet. The amendment likely won’t go before a full Senate vote until 2013, Leahy said.
Photo of Leahy via Wikimedia Commons
A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.