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In Texas, cops will soon need a warrant to search your email

Jaikumar Vijayan | May 31, 2013
Texas is poised to become the first state in the U.S. to require law enforcement officers to get a search warrant based on probable cause before they access any electronic communications and customer data stored by a third-party service provider.

California, for instance, is currently considering a similar bill (SB 467) sponsored by the EFF. It has been passed by the California Senate and is now awaiting action in the Assembly, he said.

Separately, ECPA reform has been steadily moving through Congress, with entities as varied as Google and the U.S. Department of Justice now backing a warrant requirement, he noted. "Having individual states demonstrate to Congress that email privacy legislation is both politically and practically feasible, necessary and desired is only going to make the law better for everyone, no matter what state they're in."

The Texas law would only apply to state investigations -- not federal investigations, which will still be governed by ECPA requirements.

 

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