Poll: Many want email privacy overhaul

A poll sponsored by civil liberties organizations shows that many people in the country want to update the law that allows the government to search emails without a warrant.

According to the survey from Vox Populi Polling, more than 80 percent of people in six states and the greater Los Angeles area wanted to overhaul the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which allows warrantless searches of emails that are older than 180 days.

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Additionally, between 64 and 72 percent of people in those areas thought that online privacy is becoming increasingly important. And in four states, more than 70 percent of voters said they would be more likely to support a candidate looking to update the law. 

“There is a rare, overwhelming and incredibly diverse consensus among voters that ECPA needs to be updated,” Brent Seaborn, a Vox Populi Polling partner, said in a statement.

“These levels of support are nearly unheard of in politics today... All candidates should note that this issue carries power whether they are involved in general election races or primary campaigns.”

The poll was sponsored by the Digital 4th coalition, which is comprised of groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, Heritage Action for America and the Center for Democracy and Technology. It surveyed people in Colorado, Nevada, Arkansas, Georgia, New Hampshire and Virginia, as well as the Los Angeles media market.

The Email privacy Act, from Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), would require law enforcement officials get a warrant before they access emails and online digital communications.

That bill currently has 215 cosponsors in the House, just three shy of a majority in the chamber.