Summary: H.R.699 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (04/27/2016)

Email Privacy Act

(Sec. 2) This bill amends the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 to make a series of technical changes to clarify that the voluntary disclosure prohibitions and exceptions to such prohibitions apply to the content of communications regardless of whether the communications are held in storage or have been read.

(Sec. 3) Additionally, the bill amends the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 to revise the standards for when a governmental entity may compel disclosure of communications content from a third party service provider. The bill removes the authority of a government entity to acquire the contents of a communication with a court order. The government must have a warrant to acquire the contents of a communication from a third party provider. A governmental entity that receives a subscriber's records or information from a provider is not required to provide notice to such person; however, a provider may notify a subscriber of a request to disclose information to the government.

(Sec. 4) A governmental entity may apply for a court order directing a provider, for up to 180 days, to refrain from notifying any person that the provider has been required to disclose communications or records. Additionally, a governmental entity is allowed to seek one or more extensions of the delayed-notice order for periods of up to 180 days each. The government does not have to demonstrate with certainty that an adverse result will occur from notification; it only has to demonstrate that an adverse result is likely to occur.