Leahy Introduces Online Privacy Legislation

BY CCIA Staff
May 17, 2011

Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy has introduced long awaited legislation to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act that sets the ground rules for law enforcement to gather electronic information on citizens. The existing ECPA law was written before the modern Internet had developed. We now rely more on computing, including cloud computing, and face complex issues involving ubiquitous mobile connectivity.

Leahy’s amendment would create a warrant requirement, meaning the government would have to show probable cause, to obtain access to all content in the cloud such as email or shared documents. It would also require the government or law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant before requiring companies to turn over real time location information on a customer. Past geolocation data would only require a court order.The Computer & Communications Industry Association is a member of the broad-based Digital Due Process coalition, which has been advocating for updates to the outdated privacy law, and CCIA filed comments when the Senate Judiciary Committee considered this legislation last fall.
The following statement can be attributed to Computer & Communications Industry Association President & CEO Ed Black:

“When electronic privacy rules are uncertain, it can have a chilling effect on customers adopting new technology. This legislation provides a long needed update on the ground rules for technology that was not in widespread use when the law was written more than two decades ago.

“People have the same expectations for privacy when writing a letter or email. But recent court cases have shown that interpreting the law for email and text messages has varied, so Congress needs to step in and address this. CCIA has long supported ensuring that Fourth Amendment protections apply to prevent overly permissive searches and seizures of electronic communications. While this bill would still allow access to past location data without a warrant, it is a step in the right direction.”

 

Related Articles

CCIA Encouraged by Increasing Support For Federal Privacy Legislation

Oct 15, 2019

Washington – The New Democrat Coalition, representing more than 100 House Democrats, has announced support for federal privacy legislation introduced by Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, D-Wash. The bill would give consumers control over their personal information, empower the Federal Trade Commission with additional tools and resources to patrol online privacy practices, and ensure that individuals across…

‘Off-Facebook Activity’ Feature Offers Consumers New Transparency and Control

Aug 20, 2019

Washington — Today Facebook announced the release of its long-anticipated ‘Clear History’ tool named “off-Facebook Activity”. This feature allows users to access browsing data recorded by third-party websites and applications for advertising purposes and to disassociate that information from their Facebook accounts.  The Computer & Communications Industry Association has long supported industry efforts to empower…

Mozilla Feature Diversifies Consumer Privacy Options Online

Jun 4, 2019

Washington — Mozilla announced in a blog post today an Enhanced Tracking Protection feature as a new default setting for its Firefox browser. This feature can block cookies other companies use to track users’ online behavior. The Computer & Communications Industry Association has long supported a regulatory environment that encourages diverse privacy models and competition.…