Washington, DC (November 29, 2012) – Earlier today, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee adopted H.R. 2471 with Senator Patrick Leahy’s undiluted amendment requiring a warrant for law enforcement to access electronic communications stored by a third-party provider. NACDL has worked, and will continue to work, tirelessly to make this requirement the law of the land.
"In the 18th century, when the Fourth Amendment was adopted, people did not store their private information or communicate their personal thoughts through digital technology," said NACDL President Steven D. Benjamin. "Today's email and cloud storage are yesterday's letters and home files. This legislation protects the fundamental freedom of privacy that is the heart of the Fourth Amendment. It gives clear guidance to law enforcement of the boundaries and steps for obtaining our most private communications."
In a letter to Senators Patrick Leahy and Charles Grassley, the Chair and Ranking Member respectively of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, 30 former prosecutors and judges weighed in on November 21 in support of Senator Leahy’s amendment. NACDL organized this effort to ensure that the Senate Judiciary Committee was aware of the breadth of support across the legal community for the Senator Leahy’s amendment. Currently, and shockingly to many Americans, there is no statutory warrant requirement for the government to access electronic communications stored by a third-party provider so long as the communication is more than 180 days old.