U.S. House passes bill requiring warrants to search old emails

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 06, 2017 6:25 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Monday to require law enforcement authorities to obtain a search warrant before seeking old emails from technology companies, a win for privacy advocates fearful the Trump administration may work to expand government surveillance powers.

The House passed the measure by a voice vote. But the legislation was expected to encounter resistance in the Senate, where it failed to advance last year amid opposition by a handful of Republican lawmakers after the House passed it unanimously.

Technology companies such as Microsoft have lobbied Congress for years to pass the Email Privacy Act, which updates a decades-old law to force authorities to first get a warrant to access emails or other digital communications that are at least 180 days old.

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Currently, agencies such as the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission only need a subpoena to seek such data from a service provider.

(Reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by Tom Brown)