Washington – Technology and consumer groups around the world are marking January 28 as Data Privacy Day to consider privacy protections and the direction they should take in democratic countries. Today, the Computer & Communications Industry Association is calling on Congress to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986. The obsolete law, which does not reflect modern mobile and cloud computing practices, leaves Americans’ online communications vulnerable to warrantless seizure by law enforcement. Reforming ECPA would ensure that private digital data receives the same Fourth Amendment protections as physical papers and effects.
The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“Americans have the same expectation of privacy whether material exists on paper or electronically. But our laws do not reflect that reality. It’s time to change that — voters support it, numerous trade and public interest groups support it and so do the 270 members of Congress that cosponsored ECPA reform legislation last year.
“The statute governing access to electronic communications was written in 1986, well before most Americans relied on email and mobile devices to communicate. After nearly 30 years on the books, it’s long overdue for an update. What better time to take it up than Data Privacy Day?
“As the new Congress convenes and looks for areas of bipartisan support, updating our communications privacy laws should be a no-brainer. In the face of significant government overreach in surveillance, ECPA reform presents a clear opportunity to strengthen Americans’ online privacy rights.
“Internet users worldwide are watching how the US responds to changes in the online privacy landscape. This is a chance to show U.S. is indeed committed to online privacy.”
For additional information, please see the joint letter CCIA and others sent to the leadership of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.