Bipartisan Opportunity for Action: Fourth Amendment Rights Online

June 18, 2014

A majority of the House of Representatives has now co-sponsored H.R. 1852, the Yoder-Graves-Polis legislation that would update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to create a bright-line, warrant-for-content standard. The bill has been steadily gaining momentum in Congress for the past year and has been endorsed by the White House. Any proposed exceptions or carve-outs sought by civil agencies like the SEC would undermine a clear warrant-for-content rule and thwart Internet and cloud users’ reasonable expectations of privacy.

Congress now has a historic opportunity to update EPCA for the 21st century and to ensure that users’ electronic communications receive the same privacy protections as offline communications. A recent polling survey from the Digital 4th Coalition reveals that over 80% of voters in six different states think ECPA should be updated so that the government will need a warrant to access old emails.

This is a much simpler and easier improvement for Americans’ privacy than the USA Freedom Act, which addresses NSA activities, and unfortunately got weakened before passage by the full House last month.   In contrast, the ECPA reform bill explicitly does not implicate national security.  Codifying a bright-line, warrant-for-content standard would update the law to comport with standard practice today regarding law enforcement requests from third party intermediaries.

CCIA is a founding member of the Digital Due Process coalition that has spent over 3 years advocating for ECPA reform.   We urge the House Judiciary Committee, whose leadership has recognized the need for an ECPA update since last year, to move expeditiously to pass H.R. 1852 and send it to the House floor for almost certain approval.

Related Articles

CCIA Expresses Concern Over New Senate Bill To Weaken Encryption

Jun 24, 2020

Washington — A bill to give law enforcement more access to personal data with fewer legal protections for citizens has been introduced in the Senate Tuesday. Senators Lindsey Graham, R-SC, and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., have announced the  “Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act.” The bill would compel device manufacturers and providers…

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…