Senate bill allows Feds to read Americans' emails without warrants


Brett McDowell,’s chairman and a senior manager at PayPal, said in a statement that “email phishing defrauds millions of people and companies every year, resulting in a loss of consumer confidence in email and the Internet as a whole.”



A new Senate bill has been rewritten, now giving the federal government new surveillance authority over people's electronic correspondence.

The bill, scheduled for a vote next week in the Judiciary Committee, allows 22 Federal agencies 'warrantless access' to citizens' email and personal Facebook and Twitter messages, according to CNET.

CNET said Senator Patrick Leahy, Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, helped rewrite the proposal after concerns from law enforcement.

However, an aide for Leahy tweeted "CNET has it wrong.. Sen. Leahy does NOT support an #ECPA exception to search warrant requirement [for] civil enforcement [for agencies] like FTC, SEC," the Hill reported.

A Judiciary Committee aide confirmed to The Hill that Leahy "does not support broad carve-outs for warrantless email searches."

According to the Hill, the original proposal, which revises the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, would have actually toughened privacy protections.