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Will the Email Privacy Act Improve Internet Security?
02/13/2017 Internet Security Helen J
keywords: Email Privacy Act

Online security is a concern for many Americans, particularly when it relates to personal privacy. Many individuals prefer to keep certain information private and dislike the idea of government officials or authorities looking at their emails without a warrant. The Email Privacy Act, or H.R. 387, is an attempt to address concerns about privacy by limiting access to personal emails without proper legal standards.

What is the Email Privacy Act?

The Email Privacy Act is a solution designed to help with modern technological advances and data storage. Due to changes in the use of online tools, such as cloud storage, the government must take measures to guard the rights of citizens to a certain level of privacy. H.R. 387 attempts to address potential limitations in current laws that do not take modern advances in technology into account when gathering information for a legal court case.

The Goals of the Act

While the goals of the Email Privacy Act are obviously related to personal privacy, it actually focuses on legal details in relation to cloud storage and similar tools. Current laws do not limit access to private information in the cloud, which means that government officials or authorities do not need to present a warrant before obtaining the information. Among other goals related to privacy, the Email Privacy Act will set standards in relation to the legal rights of citizens. For example, it will require probable cause before authorities obtain information through the cloud or an email server. It also requires a warrant to ensure the privacy of citizens.

Potential Complications

The goals of the Email Privacy Act are positive, but it does have potential complications that may result in further suggestions for changes during a Congressional discussion. It was previously amended for greater clarity in regards to surveillance from authorities, and it is possible that further changes may be necessary before it passes through Congress. 

A key factor that may complicate the legal process is the limited protections under the law. Some officials may recognize that it does not offer the level of protection that citizens expect from authorities and ask for further adjustments. It may also need revisions to clarify when a situation is considered an emergency that does not require authorities to inform a citizen when they are obtaining data. 

The Email Privacy Act is an attempt to improve current laws that do not offer enough privacy to American citizens. While it is an attempt to make improvements, it offers limited online security and may need further adjustments before it passes through Congress.

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