Wednesday, December 26, 2012

U.S. Senate okays warrantless email surveillance

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Government surveillance (U.S. flag with eye)

In which Congress’s love for letting the federal government snoop around in people’s private lives without probable cause burns anew:

Legislation sent to President Obama this week quietly removed language in a bill that would have — for the first time — forced law enforcement to obtain a warrant to read Americans' email. Currently, private email that has been stored by a third party for more than 180 days can be accessed by the government without a warrant.

The Senate Judiciary Committee had added a provision to legislation demanding that law enforcement or government agencies show probable cause for email searches. The provision was added to a bill aimed to allow users the ability to post on their Facebook feeds what they are watching on video services. […]

The bill was praised by Netflix as a modernization of the law "giving consumers more freedom." It passed the Senate on a voice vote, but without the language that would have forced law enforcement to obtain warrants rather than simply subpoenas to snoop into private emails.

I guess Congress got tired of continually throwing the increasingly tattered remains of the Fourth Amendment under the lawnmower and has moved on to openly mocking it, instead.