The Real Reason You Should Care About the Petraeus Affair: Privacy (

November 15, 2012 12:00 am

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The FBI used an allegation of online harassment to collect a vast trove of e-mails regarding CIA Director Gen. Petraeus’ extramarital affair, highlighting the expansive scope of the FBI’s investigative authorities. Investigators likely used the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) to access this personal information stored online, without the need to obtain judicial warrants based on probable cause. The investigation highlights the need to modernize ECPA so that it adequately protects Americans’ online privacy.

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