Washington – The House has unanimously approved legislation to enhance privacy protections to citizens’ email. The long overdue Email Privacy Act clearly gives Fourth Amendment protections to electronic communications by requiring the government to obtain a warrant based on probable cause to access the contents of citizens’ email stored in the cloud. The bipartisan bill, introduced by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Kevin Yoder (R-KS), aims to modernize the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which was written 30 years ago.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association has advocated for modernization of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act for a decade, and recently joined more than 50 civil rights groups, trade associations, and companies in a letter supporting this bill. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“The House took a big and much needed step to bring citizens’ online privacy protections into the 21st Century. With more and more personal information and communication stored online, it is imperative that emails have the same Constitutional protections from government intrusion as a letter stored in a file cabinet.
“The Email Privacy Act, which would require the government to seek a warrant to access citizens’ email, will enshrine a bright-line rule for law enforcement requests nationwide. Importantly, the standard does not include a carveout for civil agencies, though it was amended in the House Judiciary Committee. As the bill moves on to the Senate, we encourage stakeholders to further strengthen the privacy protections it contains.
“Privacy reform has waited long enough. We commend the House for its actions today and urge the Senate to quickly take up and pass the Email Privacy Act. ”