- The Senate Judiciary Committee delayed a vote on the email privacy bill Thursday after several amendments were filed Wednesday night, according to a report from The Hill.
- Privacy advocates said the nine amendments filed—which included one to create an emergency disclosure requirement and one to give the FBI more power to request personal customer records from service providers—would weaken the bill.
- The bill’s authors, Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., requested delaying the vote for a few weeks to consider the amendments.
The delay is yet another setback for privacy advocates. Similar versions of the bill have been debated for almost 10 years.
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Email Privacy Act in April with a vote of 419-0. Privacy advocates, who recently complained that Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., had stalled the bill, applauded the progress at that time. Now, it looks like they may have to wait a bit longer.
The tech industry was also invested in passing the legislation. Earlier this week, tech industry companies including Amazon, IBM, Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Google sent a letter to Senate members urging them to approve the current version of the email privacy bill without changes.
The law would require law enforcement authorities to get a search warrant before asking technology companies to hand over emails more than 180 days old. Currently, agencies only need a subpoena to seek such data from a service provider.
The Email Privacy Act would update the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which was written before cloud computing became widely used.