House Introduces Email Privacy Act

BY Heather Greenfield
January 9, 2017

Washington — Members of Congress are attempting again to get email privacy legislation across the finish line this Congress. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) are introducing the Email Privacy Act today. The legislation would more clearly extend Fourth Amendment protections to electronic communications by requiring the government to obtain a warrant based on probable cause before accessing the contents of citizens’ email stored in the cloud. This proposal passed the House last April without opposition, but was not taken up by the Senate.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has long advocated modernizing electronic privacy laws to better reflect the protections in the Fourth Amendment. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“Our country has always respected the need to balance law enforcement interests with protections for citizens, so it’s no surprise that updating digital privacy law for this century has broad, bipartisan support. Government access to communications without oversight of warrants is a dangerous path for any country that supports democratic values. We hope recent events and the desire to build a better spirit of cooperation will bring this legislation to an early vote this Congress. Cooperating to pass such a pro-democracy measure with broad support could help set the tone for better relations and trust between Democrats and Republicans and between citizens and government.”

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