U.S. Senate Democrat Leahy introduces electronic communications privacy bill

“The author of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act introduced Tuesday new legislation to modernize the 1986 law aimed, in part, to protect the privacy of smartphone users and e-mail communications,” GovInfoSecurity reports.

“Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act would enhance privacy protections for the content of Americans’ e-mail and other electronic communications by requiring a search warrant to show probable cause,” GovInfoSecurity reports. “He said the bill includes new privacy protections for Americans’ location information that is collected, used or stored by service providers, smartphones and other mobile technologies.”

GovInfoSecurity reports, “Digital privacy rights has been a concern of lawmakers in recent weeks. On May 10, a Senate Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing following accounts that Apple and Google kept hidden files on smartphones of consumers’ whereabouts. A similar hearing will be held Thursday by a subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., introduced May 9 a bill to allow consumers to opt out of online tracking.”

Read more in the full article here.

More info and full text of Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act Of 2011 here.

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20 Comments

  1. Isn’t the United States Government forcing manufacturers of every smart phone like device to have a tracking chip installed in it by 2012 so they can track us?

    Will the Electronic Communications Privacy Act keep the government from tracking us?

    1. The law is not about a tracking chip. The law is about sending timely information to people in an certain area. They don’t want to send a notice by phone number because that phone may not be in the location, or registered where the need is. It sends signals to phones, not the other way around. This is not a bad thing.

      If it does keep a track of where you are at all times, that would be bad. It would be both parties fault if so, this has been in the works for a long time.

  2. Bad news for the constitution, NOT so good for privacy. I suggest you read the linked page

    Allow the government to seek a court order to delay notifying an individual of that fact that the government has accessed the contents of their electronic communications for up to 90 days. This delay period could be extended for a period of up to an additional 90 days at a time by a court. Once notice is provide, the government would be required to furnish the individual with a copy of the search warrant.:

    and this:

    Permit the government to delay providing notice if doing so would endanger national security. To reduce the costs associated with providing notice, the bill would allow the government to provide notice by e-mail.

    and this:

    Establish a law enforcement exception to the warrant requirement that would apply when the attorney general or specified senior law enforcement officials designate a law enforcement officer to obtain geolocation information during an emergency involving either, imminent danger, organized crime or an immediate threat to national security. The government must obtain a search warrant for the geolocation information within 48 hours, or a court may suppress the evidence obtained or derived from this information in a legal proceeding. The bill would include exceptions to the warrant requirement when the user consents or a call for emergency services.

    Not looking good for the 4th amendment is it.

  3. Almost missed this one:

    Require the government to obtain a search warrant in order to obtain real-time geolocation information, except for emergency calls for service, historical geolocation information from a service provider, codifying existing practices.

    NO warrant to see where you have been.

  4. If it passes the Senate, the House will lard up the bill with lobbyist loopholes for businesses that do not give a damn about your privacy rights. Just like the Teabaggers -a.k.a. Republicans blocked cutting the $20 Billion tax break for big oil. They are sloop concerned about the deficit that we get to borrow an extra $20 Billion to give to the likes of Exxon/Mobil- the most profitable company in history.

    1. Your wrong on the tea party (like all you liberal tea party haters). The tea party people want all corporate welfare cut not just big oil. Than means NPR, GM, GE, Plan Parenthood etc…

      We do not need more government oversight, we need less government, a lot less! Less taxes, less spending, less loopholes and less Patrick Leahy!

      Before you rip the tea party again, make sure you know the facts, not the MSNBC fiction.

      1. You say that, then you let yourself be co-opted by the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove’s Crossroads, and Dick Armey’s Freedom Works and the corporate overlords who fund them. And you end up voting for politicians who only support the richest millionaires and not your interests. Brilliant!

        1. Obama is the one with the millionaires and billionaires. Obama sent 10 billion of our tax dollars down to Petrobras in Brazil. Did you know that George Soros is a major owner in Petrobras? Did you know that much of Obama campaign money in 2008 came from George (I have many more examples like this… GE for one)?

          I guess you guys are the hypocrites with all the millionaires and billionaires.

          By the way, I don’t care much for Koch Brothers, Crossroads or Freedom Works.

          You have been brain washed with fictional sound bites from MSNBC.

      2. The Tea Party, or libatarin rebranded, is about decentrialtion and giving the States power. Not ending taxs, or regulations. It would be the States that tax, then pay the Federal Government. The States would be in control of regulating the businesses in their State. I think this would be a nightmare, and would weeken the US in the world. There could be some advantages for small local businesses; but think about what our cell phones would be like if every state had different rules for how they are used, and who could use them.

        I agree with a lot of what the Tea Party wants, but not why they want them. Remember the first admendent they want to get rid of is the one that ended slavery and made blacks count as a whole person.

  5. What about Nintendo’s 3ds in all of this? The device does track your country and ‘area’ but the terms & conditions never detail what ‘area’ actually is? Additionally, you can opt out of StreetPass but only for ‘some’ services.

  6. I’d have more regard for politicians (of any party) if these types of legislation that they propose where aimed at restricting government (at every level) intrusion of our privacy.

    Due to historical precedent, I’m much more concerned about what the state wants with my data than anything corporations may attempt to do. Businesses only want to sell me something… which is nothing compared to anything the government may want to do to me… I mean “for” me.

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