Today at the Senate Judiciary Committee markup, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) voted in favor of amending the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to require that the government obtain a warrant to access the contents of a person's email. The measure, which was favorably reported out of the committee, would eliminate the "180-day rule" that currently allows government agencies to access emails older than 180 days with only an administrative subpoena or other similar request.
"I believe that email is precisely the type of private communication the Fourth Amendment was meant to protect from unjustified government intrusion," said Senator Lee. "Eliminating the "180-day rule' is crucial to establish the privacy protections that Americans rightly expect when it comes to their electronic communications. I am pleased that my colleagues agreed that the government should be required to obtain a warrant to access the content of our emails."
The privacy measure was included as part of the Video Protection Privacy Act (VPPA), which increases consumer choice over how video records are shared by services like Netflix, allowing users to opt-in to a service that could publish on social media sites the titles of videos users watch.