In an editorial in The Hill, Americans for Tax Reform and The American Civil Liberties Union jointly expressed their concern over Electronic Communications Privacy Reform. At Digital Liberty and Americans for Tax Reform we were especially concerned with a possible warrant exemption for civil investigations conducted by federal agencies – think the SEC, FCC, FTC or even the EPA. Today, I can report that we are one step closer to Fourth Amendment protection for email and cloud documents.
On voice vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the VPPA/ECPA reform bill, as amended by the Leahy manager's amendment. The amended bill requires government officials to obtain a warrant to compel service providers to disclose the contents of stored communications, subject to ECPA's existing exceptions and permissions, including the existing emergency exception.