In previous posts we’ve talked about what the United States Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) is and the need to update it. We’ve also talked about the leadership Texas has shown in passing its ECPA amendment to ensure email privacy in Texas and how it is providing a legislative model that sends a strong message to Washington D.C. that the time to get the federal amendment done is now.
While a bill to amend ECPA is before the United States Congress (S. 607) as we speak, it is far from done. In order to get it passed, everyone that cares about keeping electronic communications private needs to make their voice heard. But the issue is bigger than that, and much must be done as other privacy invasions by the USA and other governments continue to make the news.
Continuing threat to the ECPA amendment
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seeking an exception to the ECPA reform bill which severely weakens the legislation. The SEC wants to gain access to all citizens’ electronic data without a criminal warrant. The SEC’s request is impacting the bill’s progress and there remains no scheduled date for a vote in the Senate on S. 607.
More than the 4th Amendment
While most of the focus on privacy has been on the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution, others are equally relevant, in particular other parts of the Bill of Rights. The Constitution protects against governmental seizure of property without due process and compensation. Electronic communications are data; your data is your property. Therefore the seizure of data without due process and compensation is unconstitutional. What the National Security Agency (NSA) has been doing violates our constitution; the SEC is proposing that all civil agencies should be able to also violate our constitutional rights.
The world is watching
Around the globe people are questioning where their data is being stored. The USA is being viewed as an unsafe place for data. With the growth of cloud computing hanging in the balance, the USA needs to provide assurances that the world’s data can be safely and securely stored within its borders. Continued gaps in privacy protection will severely limit the United States role in the global cloud computing market.
What can you do?
We have given you two ways to protect yourself while online by encrypting your communications in-transit and on-disk. VyprVPN encrypts your content while in-transit. Despite recent reports that the government has found a way to intercept encryption technologies then decrypt them, we do not believe that they can do so with VyprVPN. If you store your content with us you can also go further and encrypt your stored content so that neither we, nor the government can read it.
We have, and will, do all we can to help ensure the Internet remains open and free and no government – whether the United States or any other – can steal your private information. Netizens worldwide face censorship and privacy threats. VyprVPN and our other Golden Frog products are designed to thwart these threats to freedom, privacy and free expression around the globe.
We can only do so much. Each of you can and must do more. It’s time to stop your privacy rights from vanishing, visit vanishingrights.com to learn how. You might also benefit from reading an article on The Daily Sheeple about how widespread spying has become and an article on reason.com entitled “How Much Surveillance Can We Accept.”
Let’s all tell our elected officials that they must, right NOW, end this progression to a global surveillance state. Confidence must be restored to not only the American people but the world. The things you do and the things you create are your property. Don’t let our government, or any other, take it from you. They will if you do not act now. Use VyprVPN and our other encryption products. But speak out now before they are banned and all privacy, and therefore all our freedoms and liberties, are lost.
Ron Yokubaitis, co-CEO, Golden Frog