H.R. 387 would update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to improve privacy protections for electronic communications stored or maintained by a third-party service provider. Additionally, H.R. 387 requires the government to obtain a search warrant from a court in criminal investigations before a provider is required to disclose the content of communications, while not impeding law enforcement’s efforts to protect the public.
Presently, the government may access any emails that are more than 6 months old without a warrant. Under ECPA, law enforcement officials may access these emails with a subpoena; H.R. 699 would amend ECPA to require a warrant to obtain the content of communications from third-party service providers.