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Senator Patrick Leahy (D, Vt.), seen here in a cameo in The Dark Knight, was "pressured" by National District Attorneys' Association and the National Sheriffs' Association to change the language of the privacy bill  (Source: Warner Bros.)
Bill originally added protection for e-mail

Talk about a bait and switch. CNET is reporting that Senator Patrick Leahy (D, Vt.), who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has revised legislation he proposed previously that originally claimed to protect e-mail privacy of American citizens. That proposal has been rewritten, and now allows for law enforcement officials to read your e-mails without a warrant.

The bill is scheduled for a vote next week and was reworked after the National District Attorneys' Association and the National Sheriffs' Association made it clear that they were concerned about increasing difficulty gaining access to e-mails for criminal investigations. The rewritten bill would give access to e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter messages to 22 different government agencies without the need for a search warrant.
 
The rewritten bill would also allow the FBI and Homeland Security additional authority in certain circumstances to access accounts on the internet without notifying the owner or needing approval by a judge.

The original legislation proposed would've required police to obtain a search warrant and have probable cause before they were allowed to read the contents of e-mail or other digital communications.
 
Senator Leahy previously said of his legislation, "[The bill] provides enhanced privacy protections for American consumers by... requiring that the government obtain a search warrant."

Source: CNET





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