The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

Opinion

December 1, 2012

Emails should be protectedfrom warrantless searches

NORMAN — U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, has always been a champion of openness in government and the right to privacy for individuals. He has tussled with some of the best on the right of Americans to feel safe about the government’s use of personal information.

Now, the veteran lawmaker is taking his fight to the digital age. The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Leahy, approved legislation that would require police to obtain a search warrant before they can review emails and other electronic communications such as Facebook pages and Google searches.

Digital files, Leahy argued, should have the same safeguards as paper files stored in someone’s home. Some law enforcement agencies suggested the bill could keep them from doing thorough investigations.

The bill, which should come up in the full Senate next year, updates the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act. That law was written before Facebook, Google, Yahoo and cloud computing became household terms. It requires a search warrant only for emails less than 6 months old.

Getting a warrant doesn’t seem to be hampering law enforcement. The Associated Press reports that in four midwestern states, federal law enforcement officials have been working with the warrant requirement since 2010. A federal appeals court had ruled warrantless access to emails was unconstitutional.

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Reform is necessary

    Editor, The Transcript: Last year, the legislature passed laws reforming the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, which was a good start, but more is needed. Recent media reports have revealed that the ODVA employs M.D. and D.O. ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Keep your brain cells

    Editor, The Transcript: Hey kids. Four centuries ago, Shakespeare wrote about life’s seven great adventures. I forget his exact words, but they were something like this: 1. Our birth; none of us can remember it, but never the less, it is ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Don’t let moderation confuse you

    Jeb Bush’s recent compassionate comments on immigration show how far apart he is from the far right of the Republican Party....

    April 20, 2014

  • Priest’s execution should spur action

    In the hierarchy of saints, martyrs are on the highest rung of the celestial ladder, at least for me....

    April 20, 2014

  • Settlers found opportunities in red dirt fields

    There are few constants in families where the teenagers and soon-to-be teenagers outnumber their parents. One things holds true at my home: Nobody gets out of bed in the morning before dear old Dad....

    April 20, 2014

  • Necessary services may be reduced

    Editor, The Transcript: There were criticisms of the Oklahoma Senate bill for a test project to privatize management of Medicaid; however, no one mentioned a critical issue of reduced services for the more needy of our society....

    April 20, 2014

  • Enforcement not the issue

    Editor, The Transcript: The government is legally right in the U.S. Government vs. Bundy Ranch matter....

    April 20, 2014

  • Family thanks community, takes issue with photo

    Editor, The Transcript: As I write this, it’s been almost eight weeks since Feb. 17, the day my family’s home burned in a fire. We lost our 15-year-old cat, Misti; 7-year-old dog, Sully; 3-year-old rescue squirrel, Rocky; almost 2-year-old ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Dancing forward

    The official motto for Mike Fowler’s chairmanship of the Norman Chamber of Commerce is “Moving Norman Forward.” But after Thursday night’s annual banquet, the sub-theme should be, “Let’s Dance, Norman.” More than 500 chamber members and ...

    April 19, 2014

  • NRA members need to step up

    Please, Mr. Bloomberg, leave the checkbook open, but step away from the podium. Your efforts to curb gun violence and improve safety are notable. The National Rifle Association thanks you....

    April 19, 2014