U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today introduced bipartisan legislation to modernize our nation’s privacy laws and update warrant requirements for electronic communications to reflect the technological realities of the 21st century.
The current law that governs protections afforded to electronic communications was passed in 1986, a time when Congress could not have anticipated the prevalence of email and digital communication.
The Email Privacy Act updates this law and shows how outdated laws can be improved through bipartisan, commonsense reforms. The bill protects Americans’ email and other data by requiring law enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant based on probable cause before accessing it. It replaces the obsolete “180-day rule,” which some government agencies invoke to claim warrantless access to older emails.
“Current laws have simply not kept pace of the innovation in the private sector,” Daines stated. “This bill updates current law and ensures that we are protecting Montanans’ Fourth Amendment Rights.”
This legislation is carefully crafted so it does not impede the ability of law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations. As such, the Email Privacy Act enjoys broad support from the technology industry, privacy advocates, constitutional scholars, and policy groups across the ideological spectrum.