Merry Christmas From the Feds, Who Can Still Read Your Emails Without a Warrant
It's no secret that the CIA and FBI can read your emails for any old reason they choose without having to clear it with anyone first (because you're a terrorist). That was on track to change with an amendment attached to an upcoming bill... before said amendment was quietly dropped from said bill.
The bill in question is the smoothy titled Video Privacy Protection Act Amendments Act of 2012, which requires video service providers like Netflix to allow you to opt out of having your information posted on places like your Facebook page. According to AllGov, an amendment that was attached to the bill that would've required the federal government to obtain a warrant before snooping around your inbox disappeared as the bill was passed.
The Senate was set to approve the video privacy bill along with the email amendment, which would have applied to a different law, the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act. But then senators decided for reasons unknown to drop the amendment.
As it stands now, any email or other data stored on a third-party server (i.e. not your own computer) can be accessed by the feds as long as it's at least 180 days old. That's a rule that will become even more problematic and dangerous as companies continue to push customers to store data on cloud services.
Of course, the feds' ability to read your emails is probably not going to change anytime soon, either. This story isn't splashed across the front of any newspapers or leading any news broadcasts, and it's not winning or losing anyone any elections. On we go.