Declan McCullagh

ECPA Amendments and Privacy in a Post Petraeus World

One of the issues making the rounds like wildfire today was a report from Declan McCullagh at CNET regarding certain proposed amendments to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The article is entitled “Senate Bill Rewrite Lets Feds Read Your E-mail Without Warrants” and relates:

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. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge. (CNET obtained the revised draft from a source involved in the negotiations with Leahy.)

This sounds like the predictably craven treachery that regularly comes out of Senate, indeed Congressional, legislation on privacy issues. And exactly what many had hoped would cease coming out of Washington after the public scrutiny brought on by the Petraeus/Broadwell/Kelley scandal. And, should these amendments make it into law, they may yet prove detrimental.

But there are a couple of problems here. First, as Julian Sanchez noted, those abilities by the government already substantially exist.

Lots of people RTing CNET’s story today seem outraged Congress might allow access to e-mail w/o warrant—but that’s the law ALREADY!

Well, yes. Secondly, and even more problematic, is Pat Leahy vehemently denies the CNET report. In fact, Senator Leahy does not support broad exemptions for warrantless searches for email content. A source within the Judiciary Committee described the situation as follows: Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz RT @kimjnews: Shocking photo CPD didn't want you to see: 2 white cops holding black man like hunting trophy http://t.co/zTyDv1Xhi3 http://t…
12mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @leepacchia @RDadmaine @ggreenwald @jaketapper Now there is the proper question for RDad.
13mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz How does this action get taken without Blatter being included? Does he have undeclared head of state immunity? https://t.co/jFYHvA286E
16mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @emptywheel @Hydra_Cook ...or window dressing.
18mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel And yet they don't recognize that banks are too... https://t.co/g6SmcULUXF
18mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @emptywheel @Hydra_Cook Trust me, Chesnoff ran this gig like a machine (he always does). The others are either his associates/partners...
18mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @bmaz That you did, but thta's just the beginning of his strong team. @Hydra_Cook
23mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @bmaz Thus the certainty he's an Asian mobster and the sloppiness about acquiring proof he was engaged in gambling here.
23mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @bmaz Phua's a legal PRISM target. They were onto him when he arrived (after he got off in Macau). Tried to hard to set up crime here
24mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @emptywheel @Hydra_Cook Welp, I said from the first moment that Dave Chesnoff is one bad ass mutha. #TeamOscar
25mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @emptywheel I suppose there "could" be legal taps in the background, but you'd think things would have been argued differently if so.
26mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel So Loretta Lynch oversaw the successful investigation of FIFA while at EDNY? But not HSBC? http://t.co/Cj4djg78UM
30mreplyretweetfavorite
May 2015
S M T W T F S
« Apr    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31