The FBI and other police agencies would be required to obtain search warrants before reading Americans' e-mail or tracking their mobile devices under a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today.
It's not a new proposal: Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat whose district includes the heart of Silicon Valley, announced almost exactly the same measure last fall. But because the clock ran out without Congress acting, she's trying a second time.
"Fourth Amendment protections don't stop at the Internet," Lofgren said in a statement today. "Americans expect Constitutional protections to extend to their online communications and location data."
Last year's version had zero co-sponsors, making it more of a symbolic measure than something designed to move quickly through a GOP-dominated House. This time, Lofgren's bill (PDF) has two other sponsors, including a Republican, Ted Poe of Texas.
Anti-Spying Bill Introducded into House
It is highly probable that most Americans believe that information they send and receive from their own private cells phones an email accounts is private, and protected against government snoops and illegal searches and seizures by the protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment. They are mistaken. There is a distinct group of Americans who believe the exact opposite: law enforcement and the leadership of the Democratic and Republican parties in the US Congress. From CNET: