Privacy groups: Obama should address warrantless email access

Privacy groups are calling on President Obama to address a 1986 law that allows law enforcement to access emails without a warrant.

During his State of the Union address Tuesday, Obama should discuss updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) — which allows for warrantless access to electronic communications that have been stored for more than 180 days — a bipartisan coalition of privacy advocates said Monday.

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The groups — the ACLU, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Heritage Action for America and Americans for Tax Reform — made similar requests of the White House earlier this month, when Obama outlined his plans for reforming government surveillance.

When Obama did not address the email privacy law, the groups said they were disappointed that he “neglected to endorse a much-needed update to email privacy laws.”

The groups repeated their calls Tuesday.

“One simple way for the President to assure Americans that he genuinely cares about privacy is by supporting the ECPA reform bills, thereby protecting the email and other online communications of Americans from unjustified government intrusion,” they said.