Senate Bill Would Require Government to Obtain Warrant Before Accessing Emails

For Immediate Release

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Matthew Harwood, (202) 675-2312;

Senate Bill Would Require Government to Obtain Warrant Before Accessing Emails

WASHINGTON - Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) today introduced the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) Amendments Act, which would require the government to obtain a warrant based on probable cause before it can access Americans’ email and other communications held by companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft. The American Civil Liberties Union supports the legislation, which Sen. Leahy introduced last Congress.

“Our e-mails contain the most intimate details of our lives and therefore deserve the full protections of the Fourth Amendment,” said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel at the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. “The original ECPA law was passed nearly 30 years ago, before the World Wide Web was even invented and cloud-based e-mail services would have been seen as science fiction. We’re pleased to see bipartisan support for legislation which closes loopholes that allow the government to access years and years of Americans’ communications without any need to prove to a judge that a person is suspected of a crime. Whether people communicate electronically or through regular mail, they should feel secure that the government won’t look at their emails or letters without first getting a judge’s say so.”

More information on modernizing ECPA:


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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