As our visit to Washington DC continues, we’re enjoying breakfast with our friends at i2Coaltion and Congressman Kevin Yoder. We’re talking about the Email Privacy Act, or the bill to update ECPA (the Electronic Communications Privacy Act).
As you may recall, the Email Privacy Act passed unanimously in the House of Representatives on February 6, 2017 – which was an exciting development as the bill includes important protections and warrant restrictions for law enforcement to abide by when accessing electronic communications. The updated bill removes the lack of expectation for email and cloud storage of information – an essential update for safeguarding the privacy of communications in today’s digital age.
Despite this passage, however, the bill has repeatedly stalled in the Senate. Among the reasons for the stall are efforts by Senator Jeff Sessions (who is awaiting confirmation as Attorney General) to add a major amendment to the bill. This amendment would allow law enforcement to demand information from tech companies without a warrant in “emergency” situations – in effect bypassing many of the privacy restrictions the bill would put in place. As a result, lead sponsors in the Senate withdrew the bill from consideration over concerns the amendment would actually make electronic communicaitons less secure than they currently are.
At Golden Frog, we have long supported efforts to update ECPA and the Email Privacy Act. As these laws were created in 1986, they have long failed to address the demands of today’s digital world and in doing so left consumer privacy at great risk as well as threatened forth amendment rights. Everyone has a right to privacy and should not fear warrantless surveillance of their personal communicaitons or information by the governemnt, so we hope this bill will move past its current delays into law. Please join us in pushing for the Email Privacy Act to move forward.
And stay tuned on our blog and social channels for more exciting updates from our trip to Washington DC this week! #FreetheNet #GFTakesDC