Lucas Votes to Reassert Online Privacy Right
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-3) today voted to pass H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act, legislation to modernize and establish clear protections to the privacy rights of American’s email and electronic files. According to the three-decade-old law that currently covers electronic communications, the government and law enforcement are allowed to access emails in most inboxes that are more than six month old without needing to obtain a warrant.
Lucas, a cosponsor of today’s privacy legislation, released the following statement upon its overwhelmingly bipartisan passage in the House of Representatives by a vote of 419-0.
“Your private emails should be just that: private,” said Congressman Lucas. “I’m encouraged to see a vast majority of my colleagues in the House unite behind this comprehensive bill to modernize our laws on email and data privacy. Our Constitutional rights should never be left to fester under aging laws when we have the ability to fix them. I hope the Senate and President Obama will recognize the urgent need to take action on this critical issue.”
H.R. 699 overhauls the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 to ensure our nation’s laws are keeping pace with the growth of technology. The Email Privacy Act closes a decades-old loophole that enables government and law enforcement to access emails and other data more than six months old that are hosted on third party servers such as Gmail, Yahoo and most internet service providers.
The legislation creates a new warrant requirement for law enforcement seeking to access email or text messages; continues to hold remote computing service providers subject to warrants; and maintains Congress’s subpoena power to conduct investigations.