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The Senate Judiciary committee is really not in a position to adequately make those determinations.
"We believe a warrant is the appropriate standard for any contents," he said.
A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' e-mail, is scheduled for next week.
Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies -- including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission -- to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant.
It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge.
CNET obtained a draft of the proposed amendments from one of the people involved in the negotiations with Leahy; it's embedded at the end of this post.
The Vermont Democrat boasted last year that his bill "provides enhanced privacy protections for American consumers by...
requiring that the government obtain a search warrant."Leahy had planned a vote on an earlier version of his bill, designed to update a pair of 1980s-vintage surveillance laws, in late September. 2471, which the House of Representatives already has approved. One obvious option for the Digital Due Process coalition is the simplest: if Leahy's committee proves to be an insurmountable roadblock in the Senate, try the courts instead. Supreme Court ruled that police needed a search warrant for GPS tracking of vehicles. Judges already have been wrestling with how to apply the Fourth Amendment to an always-on, always-connected society. Some courts have ruled that warrantless tracking of Americans' cell phones, another coalition concern, is unconstitutional. The document describes the changes as "Amendments intended to be proposed by Mr. Leahy."It's an abrupt departure from Leahy's earlier approach, which required police to obtain a search warrant backed by probable cause before they could read the contents of e-mail or other communications. But he also authored the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which is now looming over Web companies, as well as the reviled Protect IP Act.