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E-Mail Privacy Act Hits 218 Cosponsors, Polis, Yoder Call for Floor Vote

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Washington, Jun 18 | comments

Today, Representatives Jared Polis (CO-02) and Kevin Yoder (KS-03) announced that the Email Privacy Act (HR 1852) has reached 218 cosponsors, signifying support from a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives. This bill would update the existing Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which was written in 1986, which allows the government to seize e-mail and other digital communications without a warrant provided the emails have been opened or are over 6 months old.

“I am thrilled that a majority of the House has now recognized that the government has no more right to read our e-mails than they do our paper mail or listen to our phone calls,” said Representative Polis. “I urge the House Leadership to bring this common sense bill to the floor to ensure that the American people’s electronic communications will be free from warrantless searches.”

"Ensuring emails are covered under the Fourth Amendment and protected from warrantless searches is a commonsense issue that unites both parties,” said Representative Yoder.  “The bill continues to pick up momentum and I'm grateful we have a majority of the House on board."

H.R. 1852 – the Email Privacy Act would:

  • Affirm that Americans have reasonable expectation of privacy in their email accounts and other personal and professional content stored online.
  • Require the government to get a search warrant based on a showing of probable cause in order to compel a service provider to disclose communications that are not readily accessible to the public with -- regardless of the age of the communications or the means of their storage
  • Preserve the legal tools necessary to conduct criminal investigations and protect the public, (Nothing in the bill alters warrant requirements under the Wiretap Act, FISA, or any other law)
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