Senate bill rewrite lets feds read your e-mail without warrants

Sen. Patrick Leahy previously said his bill boosts Americans' e-mail privacy protections by "requiring that the government obtain a search warrant." That's no longer the case.

Sen. Patrick Leahy previously said his bill boosts Americans’ e-mail privacy protections by “requiring that the government obtain a search warrant.” That’s no longer the case.

 Proposed law scheduled for a vote next week originally increased Americans’ e-mail privacy. Then law enforcement complained. Now it increases government access to e-mail and other digital files.

A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans’ e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law.

CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans’ e-mail, isscheduled for next week.

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