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Senate Committee Approves Stricter Email Privacy 60

New submitter DJ Jones sent in good news in the attempts to update privacy rights for stored electronic communication. From the article: "The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a bill that would strengthen privacy protection for e-mails by requiring law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant from a judge in most cases before gaining access to messages in individual accounts stored electronically. The bill is not expected to make it through Congress this year and will be the subject of negotiations next year with the Republican-led House." The EFF seems pretty happy with the proposed changes, but notes that the bill also reduces the protections of the Video Privacy Protection Act in order to allow Netflix et al to sell your viewing history.
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Senate Committee Approves Stricter Email Privacy

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  • Because of Petreaus (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @11:49AM (#42161353)

    Here's an example of how legal protections for privacy only get enacted when someone powerful gets screwed.

    The timing sure makes this look like a reaction to the Petreaus scandal. From the news reports it sounds like the only reason Petreaus got caught is because of what had been basically carte blanche for the FBI to dig through any webmail system. Under normal circumstances the FBI should not have been investigating random threatening emails to a civilian - it was only because the civilian knew an FBI agent that wanted to bone her that the FBI even got involved. It seems implausible that a judge would have issued a warrant under those circumstances, but the FBI didn't need one under current law.

    It's been 25 years, long enough that most people don't remember Robert Bork's supreme court nomination casuing his video rental records to become embarrasingly public and ultimately resulting in the passage of the Video Privacy Protection Act. So its not much of a surprise that the VPPA is getting dismantled - despite the actual threat being worse today since everything is in massive centralized databases now instead of paper records in a local store.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN