The United States Justice Department seems to be listening to cries from Google(among others) that the 1986 ECPA (Electronic Communications Privacy Act) should be revised to reflect the vastly different universe that we now live in. DoJ attorney Elana Tyrangiel testified before the US House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations today, and in a nutshell, she now seems willing to think about the use of search warrants to access all types of email. Previously, the entity wanted the use a far less strict method for gaining access — giving less privacy to opened emails or emails that were over half a year old.
In part, she stated: “We agree, for example, that there is no principled basis to treat email less than 180 days old differently than email more than 180 days old. Similarly, it makes sense that the statute not accord lesser protection to opened emails than it gives to emails that are unopened.” Certainly, this is a step in the right direction, but we’re a long way from having a genuine solution. We’ll be covering the saga as it unfolds, but for now, have a look at the full brief in the source below.