A Vermont congressman is working on a piece of legislation that, if enacted, would threaten email and other social media privacy protections.

Last week Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) set out to amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 that would extend privacy rights regarding email.

Gayle Trotter, general counsel for the Washington-based Independent Women's Forum, claims Leahy was on the right track until he caved to political pressure.

"But then he got pushed back from law enforcement groups that did not want to have their investigation efforts bound, really by the Fourth Amendment, which protects us in our papers and effects subject to warrant supported by probable cause," she explains.

"So he amended his legislation so that 22 federal agencies could tap into our electronic communication with just a subpoena instead of a warrant."

That means government agencies could easily get access to email accounts, Facebook, Twitter, Google Drive or cloud-based services such as Skype.

"We have to be constantly watching these senators and congressmen in Congress because they will say that they are doing one thing, but once they get pushed back by special interests and lobbyists, they change what they're doing, frequently to the exact opposite of what they say the rational for their legislation is," Trotter says. "So you can't trust what they say."

Trotter warns while the legislation is intended to increase privacy protections, it actually lowers the legal standard for email and social media accounts as well as IP addresses.

Read Gayle Trotter's article:
Unwarranted intrusion: Your email is next