The House of Representatives today unanimously approved the Email Privacy Act, which requires law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant before accessing stored electronic communications, such as emails.
The act updates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which has been in place since 1986. Although that law provides some protections, digital privacy activists have long criticized a part of it that ends warrant requirements for stored electronic communications after 180 days. The Email Privacy Act does away with that provision, and unlike ECPA, the Privacy Act also makes it clear that a warrant is required even if an email is already opened — an occasional point of contention between privacy groups and the government.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.