For Immediate Release

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Cynthia Bell, (202) 675-3735; media@dcaclu.org

Senate Committee Passes Electronic Communications Privacy Act

Search Warrant Needed For Police to Access Electronic Communications

WASHINGTON - The Senate Judiciary Committee today passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The bill (H.R.2471 substitute), introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), will require law enforcement agencies to obtain search warrants to access private electronic communications and other content, such as email, private social network posts and other information stored with cloud based services. The ECPA replaces 1980s legislation that has become out-of-date and provides inadequate protections for users.

"This is an important gain for privacy. We are very happy that the committee voted that all electronic content like emails, photos and other communications held by companies like Google and Facebook should be protected with a search warrant," said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “We believe law enforcement should use the same standard to search your inbox that they do to search your home.”

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