back to article America edges closer to get-a-proper-warrant-to-read-my-email law

In a rare display of bipartisanship the US House of Representatives has passed the Email Privacy Act (EPA) in a 419-0 vote. The legislation updates the antiquated 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and closes an important privacy loophole. Under ECPA the police could examine any email that had been read or that …

  1. gerdesj Silver badge

    "Under ECPA the police could examine any email that had been read"

    How do they determine "read"? This is apparently under the old regs.

    1. gerdesj Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      el Reg child hunter icon is iconic

      "Under ECPA the police could examine any email that had been read"

      How do they determine "read"? This is apparently under the old regs.

      "... including a requirement that the government inform people when it forces companies to turn over their information ..."

      Now that is the important bit. I don't know about the US but we have some nasty regulations (laws) in the UK eg RIPA. For example I am an IT consultant. If I am "required" to spy on someone under RIPA then I would be criminalized were I to make that fact known to anyone else at all (possibly including myself).

      Not nice.

      Still, Ms May (and many other Home Secretaries in the past) seems to think we should go further in some way. I'm not too sure how many more civil liberties are left.

      Sorry I spent too much time editing, this is what I meant to write

    2. big_D Silver badge

      The 180 days is also bad, given that often business emails have to be kept for 10 years for tax reasons...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Jumpin' Jehosophat

      What happened ? Did someone download every congress critter's private phone data and threaten to post it on Pastebin?

  2. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

    Qiuck questions

    Does this cover communications in transit? Mitigation for that? What about communications, in transit to/from the US, or at rest in foreign systems ala Executive Order 12333? It's great and all that they have to use a warrant on US based (or does that extend to owned on foreign soil, yet another question) sources.Golly gee whiz, sounds like Supreme Court decision time, once it gets out (if ever) of the FISC.

    1. Where not exists

      @jack of shadows

      Read the bill:

      https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/699

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: @jack of shadows

        Thanks. I wasn't tracking very well as the subject line should suggest. Damn thing is actually comprehendible. Of particular merit, the way this thing is written, tied to the FRCP (Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure), the Microsoft Dublin case is going to make or break the foreign jurisdiction aspect. {Waiting - Bated breath}

        Oh, and in-transit doesn't apply unless I've misread something so NSA just follows the some ole-same ole. That's specifically excluded.

        [I've spent entirely too much time having the learn and read law since 1977. This was never what I wanted to be when/if I (ever) growed up!]

  3. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    All I can say is that Feinstein is going to be apoplectic.

    What? A guy can hope.

    1. RedneckMother

      FrankenFeinstein

      The Senator is only enraged when HER communications, information, or privacy are affected, you silly peon. Now, go away or I shall mock you again.

      Are you a some kind of silly human who expects some dignity, privacy, and rights? Pfft! Get over it, or win a Senate seat.

      /soapbox

  4. inmypjs Silver badge

    The goverment should....

    set up some email servers and give away accounts, then they could read half the emails in the world anyway.

    Well it worked for google.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: The goverment should....

      You are forgetting that the American Way is to let private enterprise do these things. In other words, they already did "set up some email servers and ...".

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: The goverment should....

        You are forgetting that the American Way is to let private enterprise do these things.

        People keep fergittin' that point. That whole US corp right there where they can be gotten to part. Heck, some (many?) of those corps fall all over themselves complyin' with them Feds. Some even volunteer more than even asked for too.

  5. Someone Else Silver badge
    Go

    Prediction:

    Bill will pass the Senate by sumpin-er-nother to 2, with the two holdouts being Dianne (Madam Snoop) Feinstein and Raphael Eduardo (The Furriner) Cruz.

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Prediction: 97 to 3

      You forgot Dianne's prying eyes buddy Sen. Dick Burr from NC.

  6. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. jake Silver badge

        Pardon me while I nuke my snarky comment to the spam ...

        Mea culpa.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. BenR

    Yet again...

    ... the UK is shown up on this issue - however transparently a fop to privacy advocates it may be - by the US.

    Le sigh.

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Presumably the TLAs will argue that because it's US legislation it won't apply to email held on servers in Ireland.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Not sure that applies as US law is rather big on exercising any leverage they can find."

        Whoosh?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. User McUser
    Devil

    Looking out for #1

    In a rare display of bipartisanship the US House of Representatives has passed the Email Privacy Act (EPA) in a 419-0 vote.

    Bi-partisanship had nothing to do with it! They just realized that *their* email would also be easily obtainable via subpoena without this law. There are a lot of skeletons to be found in those closets I'd imagine.

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: Looking out for #1

      More probably it's their relations, business or familial, that has them peeing their pants. Ever look around and see how many relatives are employed for ridiculous amounts of money by corps, PACs, even foreign countries? Even gotten a couple of Presidents some unwelcome trouble a time or two.

  11. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    "... the unanimous vote will put extra pressure on the upper chamber to pull its finger out and get the legislation enacted."

    It would be lovely if SOMETHING could!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Are you really sure you'd want to examine that finger?

      I'll leave you with that image - enjoy your dinner :)

  12. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good news!

    But I'll be happier if we can get 300-400 House members to pass a resolution telling Senator Diane that her anti-encryption bill is essentially horsecrap that the House won't even consider

  13. ma1010 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    This is such a joke

    This reminds me of Hitler's touting the "big lie" as being the best way to control the mob. You get caught telling little lies, but big ones somehow slip by in some sort of cognitive dissonance.

    LOOK, EVERYONE! WE'RE LIMITING GOVERNMENT SNOOPING! Says the same folks who brought you the Patriot Act, the secret intelligence court and CISA.

    The fed could probably bypass the entire normal court process by just going to the NSA archives. Well, they might have to ask the secret intelligence court for permission, but who knows what that court does, since it is, after all, secret? Did someone say "accountability"? No, I didn't think so.

    And forget FOIA requests, too, because CISA says they don't apply.

    Feinstein getting upset about this? Nope, Feinstein will be laughing at anyone who is foolish enough to buy this big lie. Where the fed is concerned, there ARE no protections. They pry and spy however they like. "All your information are belong to us!" If you don't like the spying, you can go someplace where they don't spy on you, like....uh....well...I dunno, Jupiter, maybe?

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