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Udall Questions IRS's Disregard for Americans' Privacy Rights, Assertions It Can Search Electronic Communications Without Warrants

'This is Evidence that Congress Must Make Strengthening Our Privacy Laws a Top Priority'

Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mark Udall said recent comments by the Internal Revenue Service that it can search and seize Americans' e-mails, Facebook posts, tweets and other digital communications are disconcerting and show a disregard for the Fourth Amendment and other privacy protections. Udall, who has been a strong advocate for Americans' constitutional liberties, said the IRS's comments run counter to the Fourth Amendment and the reasonable expectation Americans have that the government will not peruse such personal information absent a warrant. Udall said this further demonstrates the need to strengthen digital privacy protections.

"I have serious concerns about the IRS's recent comments that it can search and seize citizens' e-mails, Facebook posts, tweets and other digital communications without a warrant. This is an affront not only to our system of checks and balances, but also to our fundamental right to privacy," Udall said. "At the very least, this is evidence that Congress must make strengthening our privacy laws a top priority in order to prevent these types of actions from occurring. In particular, I welcome bipartisan efforts to overhaul the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. In the meantime, I urge the IRS to reconsider its overreach. Our Constitution at the very least demands some restraint until Congress has time to act."

Udall has been a strong advocate for Americans' constitutional liberties, including fighting to strengthen federal privacy safeguards and congressional oversight over executive branch agencies and decisions. Udall also was part of the bipartisan group of senators who successfully pushed the White House to provide access to the Department of Justice opinions outlining the legal basis for the targeted killing of Americans.

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