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ECPA Reform Consensus Grows; Legislation Introduced

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

March 20, 2013

Consensus to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to require law enforcement to obtain a warrant prior to accessing an individual’s e-mail is growing among lawmakers, government officials, industry representatives and privacy advocates, The Hill reports. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) said the current version of ECPA is “outdated and probably unconstitutional,” while a Justice Department official said requiring a warrant has “considerable merit.” Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced legislation on Tuesday to better protect digital privacy rights within ECPA. Leahy said, “we must update this law to reflect new privacy concerns and new technological realities…This bill takes an essential step toward ensuring that the private life of Americans remains private.”
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