CISPA is trying to worm its way into law again, but even while that's going on, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have approved the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) Amendments Act, a bill that actually increases email privacy. The new amendments seek to require a warrant to access any form of electronic communication.
Just when you thought it was safe to send your friends funny chimpanzee videos. Recently, the U.S. Senate presented President Obama with an amendment to the Video Privacy Protection Act that would allow Netflix to override the act's prohibition of disclosing one's video rentals without expressed consent and automatically posting them to the individual's Facebook timeline -- essentially letting the world know you rented Battlefield Earth on more than one occasion. In addition to this was a second amendment to a different act that, if signed, required the federal government to obtain a warrant before searching email and other content stored in the cloud. Approved not too long ago by the Senate Judiciary Committee, this amendment was cut from the legislative package, granting the feds carte blanche to continue to rummage through your private messages should it prove conducive to an investigation.
It's been a good weekend for everyone who opposes SOPA and Internet censorship in general. In a statement on Friday, SOPA author and copyright infringer extrodinaire Representative Lamar Smith decided to drop the egregious DNS blocking provisions from the bill. On top of that, the White House responded to a pair of anti-SOPA and anti-PIPA petitions and came out against DNS blocking as well. With all that and SOPA "on the shelf" until the nerds can come in and a "consensus" is reached, we're practically in the clear, right? Not quite. PIPA is still up for a vote in the Senate on January 24th.