Oft-delayed Email Privacy Act is back for another go-round with Congress

The Email Privacy Act, a law that would prohibit government searches of emails without a warrant, has been reintroduced to Congress after many delays.

The bipartisan law addresses a loophole in the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The much-criticized 1986 law allowed law enforcement to search emails and electronic communications like Dropbox files without a warrant as long as the communications are more than 180 days old. The proposed law will require a warrant regardless of how old the data is.

“This session, Congress needs to close this loophole and extend fundamental privacy protections to electronic communications,” said Kate Tummarello of digital rights nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). She added that lawmakers must ignore any opposition to the bill that calls for certain agencies to be exempt from the law on warrants.

Representatives Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., saw their bill pass the House unanimously last year with a vote of 419-0. It hit roadblocks when The House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., despite supporting the “core” of the bill, did not push it any further in 2016. Yoder and Polis are hoping that reintroducing the proposed law again will be more successful.

Per the law, it states that all Americans have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” with their emails and the government must have probable cause to obtain a warrant.

The Email Privacy Act has received support and backing from groups like EFF but also think tanks like the Center for Democracy and Technology, which called it “common sense” legislation that both sides of the House can agree on.

“Representatives Yoder and Polis have worked tirelessly to craft a measure which passed the House unanimously last Congress. This year we urge rapid passage by Congress and the president,” said Chris Calabrese, the think tank’s vice president of policy.

The Security and Exchange Commission was one of the opponents to the law, claiming that the rules would inhibit the SEC from obtaining digital content in investigations.

Things will of course need to move fast if the law’s supporters want to get it passed and signed by President Barack Obama before he leaves office later this month. President-elect Donald Trump may take a different stance on the bill that could see it changed significantly.

“It’s simple, in 2017 if the federal government wants to access Americans’ digital content, it must get a warrant,” said Yoder in support of the law.


Exclusive: The Surface Hub 2S will revolutionize work. Here’s how it was made

Exclusive interviews with the designers, futurists, and visionaries behind the Surface Hub 2 paint a dramatic picture of how Microsoft thinks collaboration will change your office.
Social Media

Facebook says it unintentionally uploaded email contacts of 1.5 million users

Facebook says that over the last two years it unintentionally uploaded the email contacts of 1.5 million users as they signed up to the social networking service. The process has ended and the email addresses are being deleted.

Microsoft says hackers were able to view Outlook.com emails

Microsoft's Outlook.com email platform saw a massive breach that caused confidential data to be accessed by hackers for months. It now appears the problem might have been much worse than initially thought, and worse than Microsoft admitted.

Hackers broke into Outlook.com using worker’s credentials, Microsoft says

Microsoft's web-based email services were the target of a security beach. Using a customer support agent's credentials, hackers were possibly able to access email addresses and subject lines, but fortunately not their content.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Product Review

You won't buy Microsoft's Surface Hub 2S, but it could still change your life

The Microsoft Surface Hub 2S wants to change the way you collaborate at work. That’s a lofty goal most devices fail to achieve, but the unique Hub 2S could be an exception. And trust us – you’re going to want it.
Emerging Tech

How emotion-tracking A.I. will change computing as we know it

Affectiva is just one of the startups working to create emotion-tracking A.I. that can work out how you're feeling. Here's why this could change the face of computing as we know it.

Meet the mastermind behind Microsoft's massive new Surface Hub

Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay gives us an exclusive peek at the 85-inch Surface Hub 2, and explains how innovation and collaboration will transform your workplace.

Microsoft reveals details of Surface Hub 2S, coming in June at $9,000

The Surface Hub 2 could be the most expensive whiteboard ever made, but it should be a powerful and capable one. With the ability to connect several of the 50-inch displays together, the picture at least, should be gorgeous.

Report says 20% of all 2018 web traffic came from bad bots

Distil Networks published its annual Bad Bot Report this week and announced that 20% of all web traffic in 2018 came from bad bots. The report had other similarly surprising findings regarding the state of bots as well.

Learn to uninstall a Steam game and clear some space on your PC

Looking to learn how to uninstall Steam games? You've come to the right place. In this guide, we walk you through the process step by step, whether you want Steam to do it for you or handle the process manually.

Amazon strikes $100 off the price of Microsoft Surface Go tablets

If you've been eyeing Microsoft's Surface Go for its compact size and portability, now may be a great time to buy the tablet. Amazon has a $100 discount on the Surface Go, bringing the price of this slate down to just under $400.

Sweet 16: Wacom’s Cintiq 16 pen display makes retouching photos a breeze

Wacom’s Cintiq pen displays are usually reserved for the pros (or wealthy enthusiasts), but the new Cintiq 16 brings screen and stylus editing to an approachable price. Does it cut too much to get there?

Mueller report releases on CD, forces Congress to find PCs with disc drives

The Mueller report was released this week to Congress via CDs and congressional members had to find PCs with working disc drives to access the 400-page document. The redacted report was also released to the public on a website.