Leahy may or may not protect email privacy

Last week I noted that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) may have been trying to sneak an anti-privacy bill through the US Senate. Initially, CNET reported that he had altered a email privacy bill to allow federal law enforcement the ability to read our emails without getting a warrant.

Changing the bill just before a holiday and scheduling the vote right after the holiday is pretty underhanded. But a Leahy staffer then denied the claim and alleged that CNET got it wrong.

The proof will be this Thursday when the Judiciary Committee votes on the bill. There will be no hearings. At this point nobody is sure what is in the bill.

Minnesota's Senators both sit on Judiciary. Please call them and ask them to make sure our privacy is protected.

Sen. Franken at (202) 224-5641

Sen. Klobuchar at (202) 224-3244

Here's the latest details:

When McCullah's article went live last Tuesday morning, Senator Leahy was faced with a deluge of criticism, including the American Civil Liberties Union saying that warrants should be required, and the conservative group FreedomWorks launching a petition to Congress - with more than 2,300 messages sent so far - titled: "Tell Congress: Stay Out of My Email!"

Since the publication on CNet, Senator Leahy has backpedaled to his original stance on ECPA.  His official twitter account was updated last week with the comment, "Technology has created vacuum in privacy protection. Sen. Leahy believes that needs to be fixed, and #ECPA needs privacy updates."

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on the bill this Thursday, but as of the moment, there is a measure of doubt as to how much of our privacy will really be protected and how much latitude the government will still have when it comes to gaining access to our electronic communications.

[my emphasis]

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