Lawmakers Debate Update to E-Privacy Act

A law regulating authorities' access to email drew a good deal of attention in Congress as a House panel quizzed Department of Justice and Google experts about it, and the Senate began taking on a bill to update the rules. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), passed in pre-Web 1986, does not require government investigators to have a search warrant when requesting access to old emails and messages stored online, providing less protection for them than, say, letters stored in a desk drawer or even messages saved on a computer's hard drive.