Greater Email Privacy Will Not Hinder Law Enforcement

The bill introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy to update the 1986 Electronic Communications Act would add new safeguards to personal emails, but law enforcement experts do not believe the law - if passed - would provide any meaningful hindrances to law enforcement. Under the proposed law, enforcement agents would need a warrant to search emails more than 180 days old, when currently they only need to swear that the contents are relevant to an investigation. But for emails less than 180 days old, a warrant is needed even under the 1986 version of the law. Says the former president of the National District Attorneys Association, "since you've already got to get warrants for the stuff that's less than 180 days, it's obviously not an insurmountable standard."

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