Did you know that cops can snoop into your email without a warrant, without your permission, without you even knowing?
In cases where the message has been opened or stored on a server for at least 180 days, it's true. It's a contentious issue, and the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Legal Policy says it's backing new guidelines that would require warrants:
But for now much of your private, online communication is an open book for cops. California state Sen. Mark Leno wants to put a stop to it.
This week he announced that he has introduced SB 467, legislation that would require a warrant for law enforcement authorities who want to peep into your email in the Golden State.
Leno says it's unjust that a warrant process required for opening someone's snail mail “is surprisingly not extended to our digital life.”
The bill is supported by the ACLU and sponsored by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF staff attorney Hanni Fakhoury says:
California, the home of many technology companies, should be a leader in protecting the privacy of people's electronic communications. Many of the state's technology companies have already indicated that they require a search warrant before disclosing the contents of communications. With SB 467, the warrant requirement becomes the status quo for all electronic communication providers and all law enforcement agencies across the state.