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Kevin Yoder

House considers requiring search warrant to get old emails

Investigators would need a search warrant to get people's old emails under a bill considered Tuesday by a House panel looking to update a nearly 30-year-old federal law to reflect today's communications.

The Email Privacy Act, introduced by Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, has broad bipartisan support and would close a loophole in the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which passed before online storage became so convenient and inexpensive. The law gave the government access to emails older than 180 days with just a subpoena. The emails were considered abandoned at the time, when there was rarely enough storage space to hold emails longer than six months.