SIIA Applauds Introduction of ECPA Reform Legislation, Urges Immediate Action

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SIIA thanks Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Representatives Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Jared Polis (D-CO) for introducing the Electronic Communications Privacy Amendments Act of 2015 Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation to update the antiquated Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and protect Americans’ online privacy in today’s networked world.

The privacy playing field is not level; and it’s a concern for citizens and companies alike.  Originally enacted in 1986, ECPA is failing to provide a legal framework for the 21st Century.  If government entities want to access your email and communications on your computer in your house, they need to get a warrant, but if they want to access the same information stored remotely “in the cloud,” by a company like Google, Facebook or others, the standard is much lower.   The current law is not only an impediment to innovation and economic growth, chilling demand for remotely hosted IT services.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Amendments Act of 2015 Act would level the playing field for cloud computing by establishing a warrant requirement in order to obtain content from a communications service provider that holds private electronic messages, photos and other personal records, like Gmail or Facebook. This means having to show the court there is probable cause to believe that the sought-after records may reveal evidence of wronging.

SIIA urges the House and Senate to move expeditiously to enact this legislation.

David David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy. Follow the SIIA public policy team on Twitter at @SIIAPolicy.