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(36,988 posts)
Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:23 PM Nov 2012

Senate bill rewrite lets feds read your e-mail without warrants

A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law.

CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' e-mail, is scheduled for next week.
Revised bill highlights
✭ Grants warrantless access to Americans' electronic correspondence to over 22 federal agencies. Only a subpoena is required, not a search warrant signed by a judge based on probable cause.

✭ Permits state and local law enforcement to warrantlessly access Americans' correspondence stored on systems not offered "to the public," including university networks.

✭ Authorizes any law enforcement agency to access accounts without a warrant -- or subsequent court review -- if they claim "emergency" situations exist.

✭ Says providers "shall notify" law enforcement in advance of any plans to tell their customers that they've been the target of a warrant, order, or subpoena.

✭ Delays notification of customers whose accounts have been accessed from 3 days to "10 business days." This notification can be postponed by up to 360 days.
Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies -- including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission -- to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge.

It's an abrupt departure from Leahy's earlier approach, which required police to obtain a search warrant backed by probable cause before they could read the contents of e-mail or other communications. The Vermont Democrat boasted last year that his bill "provides enhanced privacy protections for American consumers by... requiring that the government obtain a search warrant."
Leahy had planned a vote on an earlier version of his bill, designed to update a pair of 1980s-vintage surveillance laws, in late September. But after law enforcement groups including the National District Attorneys' Association and the National Sheriffs' Association organizations objected to the legislation and asked him to "reconsider acting" on it, Leahy pushed back the vote and reworked the bill as a package of amendments to be offered next Thursday. The package (PDF) is a substitute for H.R. 2471, which the House of Representatives already has approved.


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Senate bill rewrite lets feds read your e-mail without warrants (Original Post) Ichingcarpenter Nov 2012 OP
wth! k&r Little Star Nov 2012 #1
this sux AngryAmish Nov 2012 #2
It is this crap that almost makes me not vote non-Dem.. I am so tired of this LiberalArkie Nov 2012 #3
You think the Republicans are better? drm604 Nov 2012 #7
No but you have to admit Arcanetrance Nov 2012 #8
Fucking Patriot Act. liberalmuse Nov 2012 #4
Technology supercedes laws. It always has and always will. freshwest Nov 2012 #5
This makes America suck. nt Poll_Blind Nov 2012 #6
Revised Senate bill lets feds read your e-mail Without Warrants Rwolf Nov 2012 #9
UPDATE: Leahy scuttles his warrantless e-mail surveillance bill Ichingcarpenter Nov 2012 #10


(2,670 posts)
8. No but you have to admit
Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:56 PM
Nov 2012

Voting for a party that only ever seems to pay lip service to liberal values gets old


(5 posts)
9. Revised Senate bill lets feds read your e-mail Without Warrants
Tue Nov 20, 2012, 04:01 PM
Nov 2012

Sen. Patrick Leahy’s has reworked his privacy bill H.R. 2471 touted to protect Americans' e-mail privacy (into a surveillance bill) that will allow the FBI, police and more than 22 federal agencies without probable cause or warrant to access Americans’ private email and other communications –-using only a subpoena. Alleged seized evidence may be introduced in court against Americans in U.S. Civil; Criminal and Administrative prosecutions. Police and federal agencies can take out of context any innocent—hastily written email, fax or phone call record to allege a crime or violation was committed to cause a person’s arrest, fines and or civil asset forfeiture of their property. There are more than 350 laws/violations that can subject property to Government forfeiture that require only a civil preponderance of evidence.

Some idiot might send you an email that appears to include you as a participant in a crime or conspiracy: the Feds can without a warrant introduce that email as evidence in court against you or your business. A Senate vote on Sen. Patrick Leahy’s warrant-less access bill is scheduled before November 30, 2012.

A corrupt U.S. Government Administration or agency may without a warrant or probable cause search the email of any American or corporation politically at odds with the U.S. Government. Hitler used his Gestapo to target for blackmail, arrest and asset forfeiture, German Citizens and Corporations that opposed the Nazi party.

The U.S. “Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000” (effectively eliminated) the “five year statue of limitations” for Government Civil Asset Forfeiture: the statute now runs five years (from the date) government or a police agency allege they “learned” an asset became subject to forfeiture. It is foreseeable should (no warrant) government electronic surveillance be allowed; police will relentlessly sift through business and Citizens’ (government retained Internet data), emails and phone communications to discover possible criminal or civil violations.

Under U.S. federal civil asset forfeiture laws, a person or business need not be charged with a crime for government to forfeit their property. Most U.S. Citizens, property and business owners that defend their assets against Government Civil Asset Forfeiture claim an “innocent owner defense.” This defense can become a criminal prosecution trap for both guilty and innocent property owners. Any fresh denial of guilt made to government when questioned about committing a crime “even when you did not do the crime” may (involuntarily waive) a defendant’s right to assert in their defense—the “Criminal Statute of Limitations” past for prosecution; any fresh denial of guilt even 30 years after a crime was committed may allow U.S. Government prosecutors to use old and new evidence, including information discovered during Civil Asset Forfeiture Proceedings to launch a criminal prosecution. For that reason: many innocent Americans, property and business owners are reluctant to defend their property and businesses against Government Civil Asset Forfeiture.

Annually U.S. Government seizes Billions in assets without filing criminal charges. Increasingly local police are turning their criminal investigations over to Federal Agencies to receive an 80% rebate of forfeited assets. Federal Government is not required to charge anyone with a crime to forfeit property.

Re: waiving Criminal Statute of Limitations: see USC18, Sec.1001, James Brogan V. United States.

N0.96-1579. U.S. See paragraph (6) at:

Can Canadians Hold Out Against Their Government's Forceful Efforts to Wiretap Their Lives?

It was recently reported: the Canadian Government intends to resurrect (Commons Bill C-30) that Canadians earlier this year rejected. Canadians discovered that (Commons Bill C-30) touted to protect children on the Internet—would also give any Canadian police officer—without a warrant—the power to request Internet service providers turn over customers’ information (see section 17 of C-30); allow Canadian police to seek into Canadians’ private computers. C-30 was strongly opposed by Canadians in April 2012. Canadians further discovered Canada had signed with the United States an array of (Asset Forfeiture Sharing Agreements) for Canada to share Canadian and Americans’ assets civilly or criminally confiscated using Asset Forfeiture laws that result from U.S. and Canada sharing information gleaned from electronic surveillance of Canadian / American Citizens’ communications, e.g., emails, faxes, Internet actively, phone records.

You may read more about Sen. Patrick Leahy’s reworked his privacy bill H.R. 2471 at CNET:



(36,988 posts)
10. UPDATE: Leahy scuttles his warrantless e-mail surveillance bill
Wed Nov 21, 2012, 03:16 AM
Nov 2012

Sen. Patrick Leahy has abandoned his controversial proposal that would grant government agencies more surveillance power -- including warrantless access to Americans' e-mail accounts -- than they possess under current law.
The Vermont Democrat said today on Twitter that he would "not support such an exception" for warrantless access. The remarks came a few hours after a CNET article was published this morning that disclosed the existence of the measure.
A vote on the proposal in the Senate Judiciary committee, which Leahy chairs, is scheduled for next Thursday. The amendments were due to be glued onto a substitute (PDF) to H.R. 2471, which the House of Representatives already has approved.

Leahy's about-face comes in response to a deluge of criticism today, including the American Civil Liberties Union saying that warrants should be required, and the conservative group FreedomWorks launching a petition to Congress -- with more than 2,300 messages sent so far -- titled: "Tell Congress: Stay Out of My Email!"

A spokes
man for the senator did not respond to questions today from CNET asking for clarification of what Leahy would support next week. (We'll update this article if we receive a response.)

A Democratic aide to the Judiciary committee did, however, tell CNET this afternoon that Leahy does not support broad exceptions for warrantless searches of e-mail content.



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