In this modern age of technological marvels and electronic wizardry, we keep a lot of personal information online. The average person’s inbox is practically overflowing with any number of details – from personal correspondence to sensitive financial information – that we would prefer not fall into the wrong hands.
What most people don’t realize is that the government has claimed the right to read any email over 180 days old, regardless of whether the owner has been charged with any crime. The mere suspicion of any illicit activity is enough to let the feds into your inbox without your knowledge or permission.
This is not okay. It violates our privacy, and it violates our Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. Just because a communication is electronic rather than physical doesn’t give the government a right to read it without a warrant.
The Email Privacy Act would close this loophole and require the government to get a warrant before snooping around in your inbox. The bill currently has 251 cosponsors – more than half the House of Representatives, with a Senate version sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee and Sen. Patrick Leahy garnering 16 cosponsors.
The unlikely partnership between Lee and Leahy illustrates the transpartisan nature of this issue. Everyone – both Democrat and Republican – cares about protecting their privacy from unjust intrusion. The House version of the bill has over 90 Democratic cosponsors, in addition to the 160 Republicans.
With such broad support across party lines, there’s no reason why this bill shouldn’t be brought to a vote – and pass.
FreedomWorks had the opportunity to sit down with Senators Lee and Leahy to discuss the bill, and why this issue is so important for preserving our freedom in the electronic age.