Sen. Patrick Leahy

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

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bmaz @PhilPerspective @PogoWasRight @walterwkatz @nbc @NBCSports @F1onNBCSports And F1 is FAR bigger than that EPL garbage
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bmaz @PhilPerspective @PogoWasRight @walterwkatz The what? So @NBC @NBCSports @F1onNBCSports cut off the worlds biggest sporting league for that?
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emptywheel Bill requires all electronic communications service providers to maintain metadata for 3 years and provide it under new "System."
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emptywheel You should all think of Burr's bill as iCALEA under guise of a dragnet extension. it addresses some of issues Comey claims are encryption.
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emptywheel @PrivacyQuest As I suggested, lot lot of what Comey cares abt is iMessage, FaceTime data. That's what Burr's bill would get @biasedreporter
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bmaz @apb44 @F1 @nbc @NBCSports @F1onNBCSports Grrrrrrrrr!!!
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bmaz @apb44 @F1 @nbc @NBCSports @F1onNBCSports I wouldn't know, I can't get any coverage!
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bmaz @PogoWasRight Yes, but the shitbag @F1onNBCSports livestream just froze up+crapped out. Now just ads. Completely worthless @NBC @NBCSports
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emptywheel .@biasedreporter Part of what he & McConnell are trying to do w/dragnet expansion is to collect data he's really worried abt wrt encryption
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bmaz .@F1 @nbc @NBCSports @F1onNBCSports ...who refuses to competently cover the biggest F1 race of the year. You should rethink your priorities.
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bmaz Hey @F1, you always talk about wanting better US audience, and then you partner w/total shitbag network like @NBC @NBCSports @F1onNBCSports
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bmaz @PogoWasRight @F1onNBCSports Got it now thanks! Just stunned at incompetence+bad faith by @NBC @NBCSports I'm sure they won't respond either
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