Email Privacy Bill Delayed By Warrantless Search Amendment

June 9, 2016

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) released the following statement Thursday after pulling the ECPA Amendments Act from the Senate Judiciary Committee’s markup agenda:

“Since the original passage of ECPA in 1986, a lot has changed, especially when it comes to how we communicate and how we store our private documents and thoughts. Email and cloud storage have become a standard part of American life, and our privacy laws need to be updated.”

“Sen. Leahy and I have attempted to bring before this committee a bill that does one simple thing: eliminate the 180-day rule that suggests that our privacy interests expire when an email turns six months old. This is a change that has such wide support that it passed out of the House 419-0. It has brought together a coalition that includes groups such as the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, the ACLU, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and the tech community.”

“Unfortunately, some Senators on the committee have decided late in the day that this bill should be a vehicle to move an unrelated and controversial expansion of the use of national security letters by the FBI. Such an expansion would swallow up the protections this bill offers to the American people. While there are other concerns we had hoped to negotiate, the national security letter amendment is something I cannot in good conscience have attached to this bill.”

“So, with great reluctance, I have requested that Chairman Grassley withdraw the ECPA Amendments Act from the markup agenda until such time as we can proceed without risking that this bill actually decrease the privacy of our citizens.”