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Facebook, Email Providers Say They Require Warrants for Private Data Seizures

  • The Hill, Monday, January 28, 2013 5:35 PM

The 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act currently requires law enforcement officials to obtain a subpoena, issued without a judge's approval, to read emails, instant messages and other forms of digital communication that have been opened or that are more than 180 days old. An amendment to the ECPA written by Senator Patrick Leahy would require a search warrant as well. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook say they already require a search warrant before turning over any user information and argue that the Fourth Amendment, prohibiting unlawful search and seizure, already provides more legal protection than the ECPA.  

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