Email Privacy Act Clears House

By

If it seems like a lot of people are snooping on your private communications these days, it's because those people might actually be doing so. Recently, the House of Representatives passed the Email Privacy Act by a unanimous vote, and the bill is now about to go to the Senate, where there may be some issues to follow.

The Email Privacy Act requires some augmentations to security to protect information stored in the cloud, which often includes but isn't necessarily limited to email.  The House actually passed a similar bill unanimously back in April, but when the bill was held over by the Senate Judiciary Committee following some offered amendments, the House seemed to plan to try again, which resulted in the new bill.

Under the terms of the new bill, the government would be required to have a probable cause criminal warrant in order to access non-publicly-available material including emails, but also things like social media posts and other online content. Additionally, the bill applies to all communications, not just those 180 days old or younger; previously, there was no warrant required for communications that were over 180 days old.

Darrell Issa, a California Republican Representative, noted, “If the government wants to read your emails, then they should be required to obtain a warrant just like they would need in order to read your letters, search your hard drive or listen in on your phone calls. “ On the other side of the aisle, Washington Democrat Representative Suzan DelBene noted that “When current law affords more protection for a letter in a filing cabinet than an email on a server, it's clear our policies are woefully outdated.”

The advance of the bill was well-received—TechNet president Linda Moore pointed out how these laws hadn't been updated since 1986—and it's a safe bet that people will approve of actual protections to prevent random snooping, a point that's been in contention since the government released the Patriot Act back in 2001. Though this may not have much measurable impact on everyday people's lives—some might wonder why more isn't being done to rebuild infrastructure, get more jobs in play or reform taxes instead—extra email privacy will be a useful thing to have on hand going forward.

Some might pin the impetus behind this bill on the recent change in the White House, but no matter how one figures this came about, it's a safe bet all our emails are just a little safer as a result. Given how many emails go out and come in from all our various inboxes every day, this is likely good news in the end.




Edited by Alicia Young

Contributing Writer

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Nvidia to Acquire Arm and Create AI Supercomputer in $40 Billion Deal

By: Laura Stotler    9/16/2020

Graphics and AI chip manufacturer Nvidia confirmed this week it will acquire processing architecture company Arm in a $40 billion deal. The company pl…

Read More

At the Intersection of Mainframe and Open Source, Linux Foundation's Open Mainframe Project Reports Record Growth

By: Arti Loftus    9/16/2020

Open-source software has rejuvenated the mainframe as "a viable consolidation platform that both saves on licensing costs and enables technologies suc…

Read More

How to Install and Configure a Virtual Private Network Server

By: Special Guest    9/16/2020

In the internet age we live in now, we face challenges in internet security and privacy. There are hackers and other malicious elements everywhere we …

Read More

Basics Of Technical Analysis

By: Special Guest    9/10/2020

Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and other self-made billionaires did not just make money upon success. They made smart investment decisions along the way. T…

Read More

Three tips to make your 3D prints cheaper

By: Special Guest    9/10/2020

No one wants to pay too much for something, which is completely understandable. Paying too much is in essence a waste of money. Obviously this also co…

Read More