Golden Frog Calls for ECPA Reform on Data Privacy Day

Golden Frog Calls for ECPA Reform on Data Privacy Day

January 27, 2015

Every January 28th, citizens and companies from countries across the world honor the importance of protecting privacy on the Internet for Data Privacy Day. Data Privacy Day (DPD) is an international effort centered on respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust.

As supporters of Data Privacy Day, Golden Frog is using the importance of today to call on Congress to update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).

ECPA sets the rules for when police and the government can read our email, look at our photos and access other document stored in the cloud. It has remained unchanged though the incredible technological advances of recent decades and left our communications open to unwarranted government intrusion. Amazingly, ECPA was passed in 1986 and hasn’t been updated since.

As the law is currently written, government and law enforcement officials can access personal communications and documents stored on the web with merely a subpoena, meaning no prior consideration from a judge is necessary. This massive vulnerability in privacy rights opens the door for government snooping and complete disregard for our Fourth Amendment rights. In a country founded on personal liberty, this is unacceptable.

As we celebrate Data Privacy Day, it is important to recognize that this invasion of privacy must be addressed immediately. Americans have a reasonable expectation to privacy on the Internet and it is imperative that expectation is met.

Last Congress, great strides were made to update ECPA for the digital age but reform did not come to fruition. Bipartisan bills were introduced in both chambers. A bill in the Senate passed committee but never reached the floor while a House version of the same bill attracted an astonishing 270 co-sponsors. Incredible process has been made but Congress must act this year to appropriately protect Americans’ privacy and see that our rights on the Internet will finally be sufficient for the digital age.

It has been 29 years since ECPA was enacted. Reform is long overdue and there is no better day to focus on the need to protect individuals’ privacy online than on Data Privacy Day.

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