Imitation is the best form of flattery.  The DOJ is flattered.


Updates to the email privacy law called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act ECPA are long overdue. It’s common sense that emails and other online private messages like Twitter direct messages are protected by the Fourth Amendment. But for a long time, the Department of Justice DOJ argued ECPA allowed it to circumvent the Fourth Amendment and access much of your email without a warrant. Thankfully, last year it finally gave up on that stance.

But now it appears that the Securities and Exchange Commission SEC, the civil agency in charge of protecting investors and ensuring orderly markets, may be doing the same exact thing: it is trying to use ECPA to force service providers to hand over email without a warrant, in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment.

EFF and the Digital Due Process Coalition, a diverse coalition of privacy advocates and major companies, are fighting hard to push a common sense reform to ECPA. The law, passed in the 1980s before the existence of webmail, has been used to argue that emails older than 180 days may be accessed without a warrant based on probable cause. Instead, the agencies send a mere subpoena, which means that the agency does not have to involve a judge or show that the emails will provide evidence of a crime.

via Is the SEC Obtaining Emails Without a Warrant? | Electronic Frontier Foundation.