Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said he was concerned the Leahy amendment would hamper law enforcement and insider stock trading investigations. Grassley offered an amendment that would have allowed law enforcement agencies to get email files with simple subpoenas in child abduction, child pornography and some other cases, but majority Democrats on the committee voted down his amendment, saying Leahy's bill already allows law enforcement quick access to electronic files in cases where victims lives are in danger.
Grassley said he hopes law enforcement concerns about the bill can be addressed in upcoming negotiations.
The committee's vote for the bill won support from BSA, a software trade group, and the Center for Democracy and Technology, a digital rights group. The American Civil Liberties Union called the vote an "important gain for privacy."
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is email@example.com.