It’s a new Congress, which means it’s that time for another legislative proposal to bolster Americans’ e-mail privacy.
Ever since the Reagan era, the law has allowed cops to get e-mail or other cloud-stored content without a warrant, so long as it’s been stored on a third party’s servers for at least six months. That law, combined with others, also allows the authorities to obtain cell-site data without a warrant. (Court rulings on these topics are mixed, and some key e-mail services, like Google, Microsoft, and others, say they demand warrants despite the law.) Reagan signed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) in 1986, when CompuServe was king and e-mail was briefly stored on servers before recipients downloaded it with their own software.

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