Passing the Email Privacy Act
While meeting with Minnesotans from the Sixth District, I often hear frustration about the pace of getting real reforms passed in Washington. And rightly so.
Even though it can be maddening that some changes take years or even decades, I can assure you that we are making progress. In fact, this week we passed much needed reform to our country’s email privacy laws. The last time we updated these digital privacy laws was in 1986.
That was six years before the first text message was sent and 12 years before Google opened and when our National Debt was only $2.12 Trillion. Today it is close to 10 times that amount. Just six years after the U.S. Olympic hockey teams Miracle on Ice. Just two years after I graduated from college and a year before the Twins first World Series. Let’s not forget it’s been 25 years now since the Twins last World Series victory.
Things have certainly changed for this country in the last 30 years. Now, more than 200 million Americans use a smartphone. Americans send more than one billion text messages each year – that’s billion with a “B.”And last year alone, more than 232 million Americans sent at least one email a month.
It is clear that the laws surrounding the advancements in technology should be up-to-date with the technology they are meant to address. This is why I am pleased to report that this week the House passed the Email Privacy Act. More impressively, this bill passed unanimously which is not something that often happens in Washington.
Under the Email Privacy Act, law enforcement officials will now be required to get a warrant before gaining access to our emails, text messages or any stored communications – which is something they did without a warrant previously. This law is crucial to upholding the Fourth Amendment rights our Founding Fathers granted us in the U.S. Constitution and I am proud to have supported and cosponsored this legislation.