Under the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, federal authorities need only a subpoena approved by a federal prosecutor — not a judge — to obtain electronic messages that are six months old or older. To get more recent communications, a warrant from a judge is required. This is a higher standard that requires proof of probable cause that a crime is being committed.
Public interest groups are pressing Congress for the law to be updated because it was written a quarter-century ago, when most emails were deleted after a few months because the cost of storing them indefinitely was prohibitive. Now, "cloud computing" services provide huge amounts of inexpensive storage capacity.This case may provide the spark necessary to update this antiquated law that threatens individual privacy rights. Read the entire story here