Greater email privacy won't hinder law enforcement

November 29, 2012 by Richard Lardner

(AP)—Legal experts say Senate legislation billed as a major step forward in protecting the privacy of electronic communications won't keep law enforcement agencies from combing through inboxes if they believe a crime has been committed.

The legislation, which the is scheduled to consider Thursday, would update a 26-year-old law by requiring police to secure a search warrant from a judge before accessing the content of all emails and other private information from , Yahoo and other Internet providers. Under the current law, the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a warrant is needed only for emails less than 6 months old.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the Democratic committee chairman, says the change would "remedy the erosion of the public's privacy rights under the rapid advances of technology."

Explore further: Petraeus case shows FBI's authority to read email

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