House Acts to Protect Americans’ Email Privacy
Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act, sponsored by Representative Kevin Yoder (KS-03). U.S. Representative Tom Marino (PA-10) is one of 314 cosponsors and voted in favor of the legislation, which passed with unanimous support.
Under current law, emails stored for 180 days or longer on a third party server are readily available to government agencies. The Email Privacy Act creates a uniform warrant requirement for stored communication content in criminal investigations, regardless of the type of service provider, the age of an email, or whether the email has been opened. Rep. Marino was an active advocate on behalf of this bill as it moved through the House Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Marino released the following statement regarding the bill’s passage:
“Today the House passed important legislation that will protect the American people from excessive government overreach. The Email Privacy Act will reform out-of-date laws that have failed to address the technological advancements of the last decade. While many Americans use email on a daily basis now, this was not the case when current privacy law was enacted 30 years ago. This common sense update will afford email communication the same protection already given to phone calls and paper documents.”
Similarly, Rep. Marino introduced H.R. 1174, the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act (LEADS Act) aimed at addressing the conflict between cross border data flows and law enforcement requests for such data. This bill currently has 137 co-sponsors and awaits a vote in the House. Senator Orrin Hatch (UT) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“While today’s vote is an important step in the right direction, there are still discrepancies in current law regarding electronic communication. Specifically, issues arise when dealing with communications stored in foreign nations. User privacy and law enforcement access to electronic information are just as important when data is stored abroad as it is when stored within the United States. The LEADS Act will preserve the right of law enforcement officials to access this information while simultaneously protecting the privacy of American citizens. I look forward to moving this legislation through Congress and continuing to find ways to bring our current laws into the 21st century.”