Justice: Email snooping law no longer makes sense

  • Article by: ANNE FLAHERTY
  • Associated Press
  • March 19, 2013 - 11:46 AM

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration says it supports rewriting a 26-year-old law that lets law enforcement read a person's emails without a search warrant if those emails are at least 6 months old.

The law has long been criticized by privacy advocates who say most Americans store their emails indefinitely, making them vulnerable to government snooping.

A senior Justice Department official testifying Tuesday before a House committee agreed that the rule "no longer makes sense." Elana Tyrangiel (Eh-LAN-a TEER-an-gel), head of the department's Office of Legal Policy, said the administration would support changing the law so long as exemptions are made. She said that regulators who investigate environmental or antitrust violations, for example, should only need a subpoena.

Lawmakers say they hope to pass an updated law this year.

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