Behind The Mic With Joe Mathieu: New Effort To Protect Your Emails

By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) — Seems like there’s been a lot of snooping around here lately.

People looking into our phone and internet use. Cameras snapping pictures of our license plates.

Big Brother getting bigger.

Well you might be glad to know that someone on Capitol Hill is trying to do something about it – at least when it comes to your emails and other personal online conversations.

A bill proposed by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) would require state and local police to get a warrant before accessing your emails as part of any investigation.

Of course the warrant would have to be signed by a judge.

Currently those warrants are only required for emails that are less than six months old.

You know why?

Because the existing law controlling this is older than the Internet. And we’re just dealing with it now.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act was passed over 25 years ago. Back when people could not have imagined the massive storage capabilities that computers have now.

They assumed that any electronic message older than 180 days wouldn’t matter because it would have been abandoned or deleted.

Well here we are in 2013. And you know the drill by now. Everything you do online lasts forever. Period. And that creates a privacy concern for all of us – not just people with something to hide.

Now I tell lots of bad stories about congress. But here’s one that might have a happy ending, assuming you want this protection. The Hill newspaper in Washington reports the bill has enough votes to pass.

And it may be a while before I say that again.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz

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