Warrants for Emails and Cell Phone Locations: Online Communications and Geolocation Protection Act

Bill protects privacy from unconstitutional search and seizure.


Gavel and Keyboard

The Hill is reporting that Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Ted Poe (R-Texas) are reintroducing the Online Communications and Geolocation Protection Act. That bill would require a warrant to obtain someone's email or cell phone location information. Right now law enforcement can simply issue an subpoena to demand that email services turn over any of your emails older than six months that are stored on their servers. (In my case, that would be more 220,000 emails.) Similarly, the police can order mobile phone companies to hand over your location information obtained from their cell towers and gag the companies so that they can't tell you that police have made that demand.

The Act would amend…

…federal criminal code to authorize a governmental entity to require the disclosure of the contents of any wire or electronic communication that is stored, held, or maintained by an electronic communication service or a remote computing service only pursuant to a warrant. Requires such entity, within three days after it receives such contents from a provider of such service, to serve upon or deliver to the service subscriber, customer, or user a copy of the warrant and required notice. Includes the contents of such a communication among the information that any such service provider shall not knowingly divulge to any governmental entity except as provided under current law.

From The Hill:

"Fourth Amendment protections don't stop at the Internet, and Americans rightly expect constitutional protections to extend to their online communications and location data," Lofgren said. … "Technology may change, but the Constitution does not," Poe said in a statement.

But that won't stop law enforcment agencies from lobbying heavily to prevent passage of the bill.

NEXT: "Snowball Fight/Gun" Video is Misleading, Says New Rochelle PD

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. That bill would require a warrant to obtain someone’s email or cell phone location information.

    Has anyone read the actual bill? With a name like that, I’m guessing it does the exact opposite. Also, doesn’t the 4th Amendment already cover this?

    1. ^This^

      Why read the bill, we have to pass it to find out what’s in it!

      It has gone way beyond ridiculous in this country. We do not need thousands of new bills to protect something that it already covered under the bill of rights, the constitution, or other laws. And as you stated, these bills never do anything to protect anyone, but are packed full of pork and cronyism and other worse thing that only make more unsuspecting people criminals in more ways.

      1. You two are being silly. The quoted text is clear that this bill will re-inforce constitutional rights. Apparently the Constitution needs ‘booster shots’.

  2. Bill protects privacy from unconstitutional search and seizure.

    This is a depressing sentence.

    1. If only we had some document that explained what is and isn’t constitutional!

      1. We have such a document but it’s interpretation is left to the courts, who have spent the last century and a half rendering the language and intent of said document meaningless. Look, for example, on what the courts have done to trash the plainly worded Fourth Amendment and despair.

        1. Despair is the proper word in that statement.

  3. Your evening derp:

    “Anyone who is passing information to Congress about A-10 capabilities is committing treason.”
    -USAF Maj. Gen. James Post


    Also: Christian at Answers in Genesis criticizes sci-fi for being unrealistic. You goofy sci-fi nerds should stick to serious stuff, like people rising from the dead.


    1. “Also: Christian at Answers in Genesis criticizes sci-fi for being unrealistic. You goofy sci-fi nerds should stick to serious stuff, like people rising from the dead.”

      Not only un-realistic, but condemned by the scriptures!
      “The extravagant and expensive efforts to search for intelligent life in space is an example of this. The Scriptures condemn such glorification of the heavens (Deuteronomy 4:19; Isaiah 47:13?14; Jeremiah 8:1?2).”

    2. the genre is permeated with unrealism, . . . occultism, . . .

      Wait, isn’t the Bible full of occultism also? I mean there’s magic and deals with supernatural entities all over the thing.

      For example, animals becoming half-human (or vice versa), contradicts everything scientists know about the limits of genetic variation.

      It absolutely does not. Ever heard of chimerization, for example. Its certainly beyond our capabilites but its not forbidden by theory. In any case, 99% of these damn furries are not genetically engineered but natural organisms.

      The creation of mass/energy from nothing, or its annihilation (e.g. by a mere laser blast), violates the First Law of Thermodynamics, one of the best proven laws of science.

      Vaporization ain’t annihilation.

      And the notion that dead matter can transform itself into a living organism (spontaneous generation) has never been observed and flatly contradicts the Laws of Biogenesis (that life always comes from life).

      Do these people even know the core stories of their own religion. Lazarus, Jesus, ringing any bells.

  4. What about:
    – NSL
    – CALEA
    where local authorities can turn to the Feds.

    The Feds use DCSNet to capture metadata (trap-and-trace and pen registers) anytime without warrant, then can issues NSLs under warrant. But the act requires notifying recipients of those being served, which contradicts NSLs.

  5. Leftist tolerance on display at UC Davis.

    Anti-Israel activists at the University of California, Davis heckled Jewish students and shouted “Allahhu Akbar” at them during a vote last week on a resolution endorsing a boycott of the Jewish state, according to video of the event obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

    1. I’m sure the Jewish students were doing what they do best: Getting an education and moving on to the next phase of adulthood.

      Student government resolutions? Who gives a fuck?

  6. You know what really irritates me about this article?

    The author writes that he’ll draw us a Venn diagram, but then draws an Euler diagram instead.

    1. He also sounds like an asshole.

      1. Not only did he “invent” the Twitter hashtag, but he saw it fit, without even the smallest inkling of irony to string words together to form these sentences:

        Today’s most interesting apps (Snapchat, Secret, et al) are designed to support Big Dating, offering discreet, asynchronous, anonymish, non-exclusive communications. Multiplied against algorithms that optimize the pool of potential partners for connection (requiring no more than swipe left, swipe left, swipe right to operate), romantic partners are now more fungible than ever.

        That is the asshole singularity right there.

        1. I’m really trying hard here, but my brain just can’t agree that there’s any multiplication involved whatsoever. Maybe I need another drink.

          Big Dating, the sinister cousin of Big Oil and Big Pharma.

          1. The more I read that paragraph, the more convenience that he used one of those pseudorandom social media jargon text generators.

            1. *the more I’m convinced.

            2. More annoying: BIG [fill in the blank] or [fill in the blank] -gate?

              1. Bighazi

            3. Fungible Lovers. Great band.

  7. Happy birthday, Ayn Rand!

    In which a progressive feminist “comedian” makes light of 8 quotes she thinks epitomizes Rand’s monstrosity.

    1. Does it include the section in Atlas Shrugged in which Rand states why wll those people deserved to die in the train crash in the tunnel?

      1. “But I don’t think of you.”

    2. What I always find most puzzling about these articles are the assertions or implications that Ayn Rand is the guiding force behind modern American conservatism/libertarianism/Tea Party/Republican party, etc. She represented one school of thought that is adhered to by a very small group of people. Her philosophy has some overlap with those other groups, but declaring her the guiding force of all those movements is like saying that anyone on the left is a follower of Vladimir Lenin or Mao Zedong just because their philosophies might have some similarities. It’s laughable to suggest that Ayn Rand, an atheist that hated religion, is “the woman who many Republicans praise as their moral compass.”

      1. Yes, I agree. Conservatism is best represented by Reagan – whom Ayn Rand despised.

        1. Show me where on the doll Reagan touched you.

      2. One is reminded of what John often says: Whatever a prog says is a lie.

      3. Just in general its ludicrous to think that Ayn Rand is a conservative icon.

        But these people have to lump us in with the conservatives because to do otherwise would require them to engage and learn about our stances. Easier to just lump everyone not on your side into one amorphous ‘enemy’ faction.

        That way you can point to the stuff any one group does that you don’t like and say its representative of the whole group.

        1. Even holding up Ayn Rand as an icon of all libertarians is stupid, as there are many schools of libertarianism that have many disagreements with her (and in fact, she did not even consider herself a libertarian and looked down on them). Using her quotes to attack any group besides Objectivists is asinine.

          1. I’ve never read a word of her writings. Not one fucking word.

            1. Which is not to say that she hasn’t written some good stuff. I don’t care one way or the other.

              But when somebody tries to tell me that I’ve been brainwashed and I’m a Rand acolyte, that straw man has left the station.

            2. Same here

              1. Well here is Francisco d’Anconia’s money speech in case either of you has trouble sleeping tonight.

                1. Trouble sleeping? I have beer for that

    3. This is the description that adorns her page:

      Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comedian, writer and filmmaker. She is the co-host of Morning Jew, writes for places like The Nation, Feministing, Jezebel and appears on places like MSNBC, RT, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once). Katie’s had her photo taken with Rudy Giuliani and was called “cute and somewhat brainy” by the National Review.

      Christ, can you imagine the reaction she’d get from her followers if she held conservative or libertarian opinions?

      She’s the definition of white privilege according to them but because she holds the “correct” views she gets a pass pontificating on subjects she has zero personal stake in or knowledge of.

      1. Yeah, maybe that was the only way she could get through college witout being strung up by a rope.

      2. ROFL, “Mean streets” upper west… I bet she’s never been north of 70th

      3. For some Godawful reason I read the comments at the website. It stuns me how simplistic some of those people are in their views.

      4. “For a woman to seek or desire the presidency is, in fact, so terrible a prospect of spiritual self-immolation that the woman who would seek it is psychologically unworthy of the job.”

        It’s like she travelled through time to warn them about Hillary.

      5. Her parents are failures.

  8. Requires such entity, within three days after it receives such contents from a provider of such service, to serve upon or deliver to the service subscriber, customer, or user a copy of the warrant and required notice.

    Emphases added. With all due respect, WTF?

  9. Spot the Not: Chris Christie!

    1. Newt Gingrich’s personal life is much bigger embarrassment to the GOP than my weight.

    2. If I missed my moment, I missed my moment. I mean, I wasn’t pining to be president of the United States.

    3. Well, let me tell you, after three years of Obama, we are hopeless and changeless, and we need Mitt Romney to bring us back, to bring America back.

    1. Ima say … 3.

    2. I’ll say 2. This is a toughie.

  10. Two can play this game! Spot the not: Ayn Rand.

    1. The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.

    2. The American free market system is the greatest engine for prosperity and opportunity that the world has ever seen.

    3. There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

      1. Are you sure?

        1. Yeah. I remember it from his convention speech.


          1. It’s a Ted Cruz quote (as GMSM noted) — but, to be fair, there are similarities.

    1. I’m pretty sure 1 is a paraphrased Ferengi proverb.

      1. “Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don’t hesitate to step on them.”

        Rule of Acquisition 211

    2. 2. Is either Rand Paul or Ted Cruz.

    3. 1

  11. Spot the Not: Rick Perry

    1. When I make a vow to God, then I would suggest to you that’s even stronger than a handshake in Texas.

    2. You can be sure our country is going astray when two men can get “married” but kids can’t pray in school.

    3. There is evil prowling in the world – it shows up in our movies, video games and online fascinations, and finds its way into vulnerable hearts and minds.

    1. 1: Rick, 2: Chucklebee, 3: batman?

      Those are my bets.

      1. Try reading 3 in a husky voice while perched on the edge of a skyscraper.

        1. I’m unable to imagine this without adding a lisp.

    2. 3…the only time anyone uses the world “prowler” is in reference to, or about, a cat burglar.

    3. 2

      1. Winner! I cheated by paraphrasing this infamous campaign ad:

        1. I’m on a roll.

        2. “I’m Rick Perry, and I approved this message”

          Well, I don’t see anyone holding a gun to his head

  12. OT: I wonder how it would’ve gone down if, when drafting the constitution, Madison et. al. came out and said “Hey guys, we’ve got it, but it’s all so complicated we’ll just tell you later. Basic idea: Kill (other) whitey. So ya’ll get on that and we’ll be right here still figuring out this really complicated document you’re going to probably die for. Thx bro.”

    1. I think the Constitution should have ended at: “Congress shall make no law.”

  13. Everything you need to know in a general but accurate description of our monetary policy provided by Ray Dalio of Bridgewater:

    1. Why watch Youtube? Bloomberg has all the charts. The US Dollar has been strong as hell since 2008.

      1. If by ‘strong as hell’ you mean ‘not as weak as other weak-ass currencies’ then that would be accurate.

    2. Oh, I get it. He reinforces something you already believe. I might watch it after all.

      1. That’s rich.

  14. OT: I just ran my tax info through TurboTax. I owe 300 dollars.

    You wouldn’t believe how wealthy I am (not). Fuck this goddamn system with a radioactive dildo.

    1. That’s what you deserve for not buying the insurance plan they told you to buy!

    2. I’m getting a 5 figure refund. Those fuckers owe me interest!!!

      1. Owe, they might show you some interest!!!

  15. College basketball really needs to shorten it’s shot clock. So dull.

  16. What I find most encouraging is that I don’t recognize any of the names of the people authoring this bill. We’re winning.

  17. OT: The public sector unions are firing the first shots of the pension and benefits battle with Governor Rauner. They are doing whatever they can to remind the residents of Illinois (you know the people who put this man into office) that he is rich billionaire who drinks the blood of children with Governor Walker.

    It’s fucking great because these two groups will rip each other apart. The only tragic part is that whoever wins, the Illinois taxpayers will get fucked in the ass.

    OOOTTTT: I received my first property tax installment bill from the City of Chicago. Fuck this city.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.