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

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz RT @mattapuzzo: DOJ considering whether to open broader civil rights investigation into Ferguson PD. No decision made, but DOJ's has been a…
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @tonymess: We already know more in the past hour about a city of St. Louis police shooting than we do about one in #Ferguson 10 days ago.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz This (and I know a couple of you at @Twitter are following)----> RT @erinscafe Twitter please stop fucking w/Twitter. http://t.co/JysxchES7x
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @LegallyErin But, if when you then get transcript (which you do here) if proffered material would have changed vot you have Motion to Remand
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @LegallyErin We have no absolute right here; but you can notice a request to either testify or have a proffer submitted. Usually they say no
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @AllThingsHLS Sage reasoning. Truly. I've made a GJ demand to testify?submitted proffer a handful of times over many years. rarely good idea
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @AlexLittleTN See why I now hate Federal court??
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @LegallyErin This says yes too http://t.co/Gfu9Rb0q8v but I don't find it in MO law (via lame ass Google search)
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @gnarlytrombone If they then do not, then you have an argument that the presentation was unfair and subject to potential remand.
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @gnarlytrombone Here there is no absolute right, but you can request and demand to either appear or they enter your written proffer.
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @AllThingsHLS See? This shit is easy!
7hreplyretweetfavorite
August 2014
S M T W T F S
« Jul    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31