Kudos to our attorney General for stepping up for civil protections. Warrants are what keeps us safe from excessive police and government agency powers. They are the critical check on power to assure some balance of power between us and each administration. Each Attorney General. Each FBI Director. This is an important step on a road to understanding that as the years pass we must return to the civil protections we enjoyed before that attack. And we should do that in a way that embraces both protections and technology.
The more he steps up like this the more I can feel less skeptical of his policies.
Attorney General Eric Holder became the White House’s highest ranking official to support sweeping privacy protections requiring the government, for the first time, to get a probable-cause warrant to obtain e-mail and other content stored in the cloud.
“It is something that I think the Department will support,” Holder testified before the House Judiciary Committee, when questioned about the Justice Department’s position.
Last month, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a package that nullifies a provision of federal law allowing the authorities to acquire a suspect’s e-mail or other stored content from an internet service provider without showing probable cause that a crime was committed if the content is 180 days or older.
Under the current law, the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the government can obtain e-mail without a warrant as long as the data has been stored on a third-party server — the cloud — for 180 days or more. The government only needs to show, often via an administrative subpoena, that it has “reasonable grounds to believe” the information would be useful to an investigation.