Texas Email Privacy Bill Signed Into Law
6/17/2013 1:44:00 PM,
AUSTIN, Texas (CN) - Gov. Rick Perry gave the green light to an email privacy bill that will guard Texans from warrantless searches by state law enforcement officials.
With House Bill 2268 in effect, state investigators will have to obtain a warrant to access emails no matter how old the communication.
The bill passed in both houses of the Texas Legislature with zero votes in opposition before arriving on the governor's desk late last month. Perry signed the bill on Friday, just two days before the deadline to approve or veto it.
Ars Technica called the law "unprecedented" and reported that it will "make Texas law more privacy-conscious than the much-maligned 1986-era Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA)."
"With the ECPA, federal law enforcement agencies are only required to get a warrant to access recent emails before they are opened by the recipient," the technology news site reported.
It also noted that "there are no such provisions in federal law once the email has been opened or if it has sat in an inbox, unopened, for 180 days."
State Rep. John Frullo, R-Lubbock, was the primary author of House Bill 2268.
Frullo noted that the legislation "allows Texas to join other states in making sure law enforcement agencies are able to obtain critical evidence when criminals are using the Internet to commit crimes."