By voice vote on February 6, the US House of Representatives passed the Email Privacy Act that would, among other things, require the federal government to obtain a warrant before compelling service providers to hand over emails and other digital communications of customers (read our previous post for helpful background on the act). A key provision of the Email Privacy Act is the elimination of the rule in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 that allows government agencies to request communications older than 180 days with only a subpoena (i.e., without a warrant).

The House previously passed the Email Privacy Act by unanimous vote on April 27, 2016. However, the act failed to clear the Senate after an amendment was introduced that would allow the FBI to require providers to turn over information (such as name, email address, physical address, phone number, account number, login history, payment information, and IP address) on suspects under investigation, without a warrant.