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U.S. Bill Will Allow Feds to Read Your E-mail Without Warrants

By - Source: CNET | B 68 comments
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Original bill was intended to increase Americans' e-mail privacy.

The United States government is set to vote on an e-mail privacy bill which, if passed, will enable government agencies to read Americans' e-mails without warrants.

CNET learned that Patrick Leahy, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has changed his initial legislation due to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill is due to take place next week.

The rewritten bill would essentially give more than 22 agencies (such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission) direct access to Americans' e-mail.

However, they'd also be allowed to view users' Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts and Twitter direct messages without the need for a search warrant. The FBI and Homeland Security in particular will be given more authority in terms of obtaining full access to internet accounts without notifying a judge nor the owner.

One participant partaking in Capitol Hill meetings based on the topic in question stressed that Justice Department officials expressed their dissatisfaction in regards to Leahy's original bill.

Associate deputy attorney general James Baker has warned that the requirement of receiving a warrant to obtain e-mails could have an "adverse impact" on criminal investigations.

Meanwhile, Christopher Calabrese, the legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, added that having access to Americans' data without a warrant "undercuts" the intended purpose of Leahy's initial bill. "We believe a warrant is the appropriate standard for any contents."

Markham Erickson, a lawyer located in Washington, has followed the topic since its inception and spoke for himself and not his corporate clients when stressing his worry over government agencies receiving more power.

There is no good legal reason why federal regulatory agencies such as the NLRB, OSHA, SEC or FTC need to access customer information service providers with a mere subpoena. If those agencies feel they do not have the tools to do their jobs adequately, they should work with the appropriate authorizing committees to explore solutions. The Senate Judiciary committee is really not in a position to adequately make those determinations.
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Top Comments
  • 29 Hide
    Dangi , November 22, 2012 3:12 PM
    1986 and Big Brother are closer than you think for you americans, and for the rest of us is also coming
  • 26 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , November 22, 2012 3:24 PM
    We should demand in return to have all of congress to have their private messages open to the public, all to see. Tit for tat.
  • 25 Hide
    pocketdrummer , November 22, 2012 3:40 PM
    It's illegal to do such things with physical mail, what makes them this it's ok with digital mail. This bill should never have been proposed in the first place.
Other Comments
  • 24 Hide
    makaveli316 , November 22, 2012 3:09 PM
    Poor american people...Hitler was a joke comparing to nowadays "leaders"... and it will only get worse.
  • 29 Hide
    Dangi , November 22, 2012 3:12 PM
    1986 and Big Brother are closer than you think for you americans, and for the rest of us is also coming
  • 22 Hide
    tokencode , November 22, 2012 3:13 PM
    Patrick Leahy is a piece of garbage
  • 10 Hide
    Kami3k , November 22, 2012 3:15 PM
    Go ACLU, go after all corporatists in office, no matter their party.
  • 15 Hide
    memadmax , November 22, 2012 3:16 PM
    All this will do is accelerate development of "underground" internet type hardware/software...

    Politicians are only good at spending money, they should stay there...
  • -6 Hide
    tokencode , November 22, 2012 3:18 PM

    Please try to stay relevant Tom's....



    CNET
    News
    Politics and Law
    Leahy scuttles his warrantless e-mail surveillance bill

    Leahy scuttles his warrantless e-mail surveillance bill

    After public criticism of proposal that lets government agencies warrantlessly access Americans' e-mail, Sen. Patrick Leahy says he will "not support" such an idea at next week's vote.
  • 26 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , November 22, 2012 3:24 PM
    We should demand in return to have all of congress to have their private messages open to the public, all to see. Tit for tat.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 22, 2012 3:26 PM
    Good luck with that, some of us encrypt our stuff with so many VPNs and by other means its not worth their time to look at my stuff. Smarter than any government fresh out of college kid snooping around. Get real!
  • 8 Hide
    rantoc , November 22, 2012 3:34 PM
    Things like this will only make everyone encrypt their personal emails ect and when 99% of everything is decrypted where are the "bad" messages in that mass? Wouldn't it simply be more productive to leave it as is and have a way easier time to find the encrypted messages that are likely to contain the bad stuff?

    Politicians of today - Vote for things they know nothing about....
  • 21 Hide
    murzar , November 22, 2012 3:37 PM
    Americans shouldn't be worried about zombies or alien invasions or imaginary weapons of mass destruction, what they should be worried about is their government. Rich, selfish and ruthless bunch of elected individuals that have no concern for your and your children's future and happiness.
  • 25 Hide
    pocketdrummer , November 22, 2012 3:40 PM
    It's illegal to do such things with physical mail, what makes them this it's ok with digital mail. This bill should never have been proposed in the first place.
  • -1 Hide
    cmcghee358 , November 22, 2012 3:48 PM
    makaveli316Poor american people...Hitler was a joke comparing to nowadays "leaders"... and it will only get worse.


    Do you have any idea how stupid you sound. This was a man that tried to take over the free world, he didn't perceive Jewish people as human beings. He was able to coerce the entire population of countries to believe that Jews were animals to be slaughtered. In one short sentence, you have managed to excuse, justify, diminish, and make allowances for one of the worst human beings in our modern history.

    Shame on you.
  • 4 Hide
    Devoteicon , November 22, 2012 3:50 PM
    It's plain and simple... Encrypt your emails.
  • 0 Hide
    azraa , November 22, 2012 3:55 PM
    Google has an initiative on this matter, its google.com/takeaction
    Its all educational on the subject and all that.
  • 3 Hide
    smelly_feet , November 22, 2012 3:58 PM
    If the bill passes, any bets on the increase in ID/password theft over the next decade?
    An officer with that access can do what ever and flee the with country with the cash...
    Or on the news...an officers usb key with personal emails was misplaced in a public place...
    Officers laptop with millions of personal emails was stolen or hacked....

    ps, if the bill passes, don't email anyone from the US...
  • 2 Hide
    timw03878 , November 22, 2012 3:59 PM
    cmcghee358Do you have any idea how stupid you sound. This was a man that tried to take over the free world, he didn't perceive Jewish people as human beings. He was able to coerce the entire population of countries to believe that Jews were animals to be slaughtered. In one short sentence, you have managed to excuse, justify, diminish, and make allowances for one of the worst human beings in our modern history. Shame on you.


    Apparently your not aware that the US has over 900 bases in 130 countries...
  • -2 Hide
    noblerabbit , November 22, 2012 4:04 PM
    oh well, I guess China and Korea will simply engineer and mass produce new router and IP technology, that will run along side the existing internet, kicking it to the curb like what happened with AOL and Netscape. no worries, moving right along.
  • 0 Hide
    madrich , November 22, 2012 4:15 PM
    Not sure if this is going to cause anti-social behavior. chicken or the egg scenario. people get angry because of things like this, which can lead to threats, which leads to being labeled a terrorists, which leads to job security for anti-terrorism and government funded spying... but they PROBABLY wouldn't do it if it wasn't for asshole terrorists in the first place...

    Why would anyone think they are only reading e-mails and leaving cellphone memos and .txt pc files alone?
  • 7 Hide
    freggo , November 22, 2012 4:28 PM
    Those would be a very shortsighted move that will backfire badly!

    It will drive more and more people into using highly encrypted forms of communication (a la TrueCrypt) and then, even with a warrant, good luck in reading anything !
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