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House Lawmakers Renew Push for Email Privacy Bill

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has reintroduced a bill that would require law enforcement officials to secure a warrant to access emails.

The Email Privacy Act aims to update the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act and would allow law enforcement to access emails older than 180 days through third-party providers without a warrant, Rep. Suzan DelBene’s (D-Washington) office said Monday.

Delbene joined Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) and Jared Polis (D-Colorado) to push for the adoption of the bill, which passed the House last year through a 419-0 vote but was not acted on by the Senate.

The Email Privacy Act will remove the “180-day” rule; require a warrant to obtain content from providers; authorize companies to notify customers when the government requests their data; and allow government to request a judge-ordered delay of notification in certain circumstances.

DelBene said the legislation seeks to protect civil liberties in the digital age and that she will work to address other ECPA-related matters such as geolocation information and data stored overseas.

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