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Congress Must Act Quickly To Protect Americans’ Safety And Privacy

Author: Drew Johnson / Source: The Daily Caller

Take a look at your email inbox. Are there emails older than 180 days? If so, you should know that the United States government considers them to be “abandoned,” which entitles Uncle Sam to get his hands on them.

An outdated loophole in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) makes Americans vulnerable to snooping federal agents seeing very things such as health information, credit card statements and racy pictures. This antiquated law was created long before emails, text messages and online messaging services became a vital part of modern life. As a result, the ECPA must be updated to reflect today’s technology, while striking the proper balance between privacy and security.

This issue was brought to the forefront after Microsoft sued the U.S. government when the feds issues a search warrant to peruse stored electronic data store outside of the United States. Microsoft won at the 2nd Circuit Court, but the government is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court, which would be disastrous. It is assumed that Justice Department officials hope to win the case in order to set a precedent that empowers the ECPA with the authority to compel companies to turn over the private information of individuals – even if the person poses no threat to national security.

Government advocates argue that we must permit law enforcement to compel…

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