In 1986, Falco’s Rock Me Amadeus topped the charts, Madonna dedicated her hit single Papa Don’t Preach to Pope John Paul II, and a ruffle-clad David Bowie crooned along with funky Muppet goblins in Labyrinth. Meanwhile, although the World Wide Web didn’t even exist yet and cell phones were an expensive rarity, Congress was working on a new law to better protect our digital privacy by regulating when the government could access our private communications. That law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), was signed on October 21, 1986.
After 25 years, ECPA is in dire need of an upgrade to reflect changing technology and ensure that the government can’t read our emails, track our cell phones, or watch where we go on the Web without first going to court and getting a search warrant. To help support the effort to reform ECPA, and in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of ECPA’s signing, EFF is joining Google, CDT, ACLU, CEI, TechFreedom, CCIA, and Americans for Tax Reform to throw the capital's most awesome party - Party Like It's 1986.
If you’re in Washington D.C., join us the evening of October 20th on Capitol Hill for an 80s-themed celebration of digital privacy: RSVP now!
EFF is also traveling to DC with a “Retro Tech Fair” which will be on display during the Party Like It’s 1986 events. We’ll be setting up an exhibit for partygoers to take a trip down memory lane and see examples of computers, walkmen, cell phones, and video games from the mid to late 1980s. We’re particularly thankful for contributions of advice and technology by Marc Weber of the Computer History Museum, the DigiBarn Computer Museum, Erik S. Klein of Vintage-Computer.com, John Gilmore, Eugene Miya, the Mid-Atlantic Retro Computing Hobbyists (MARCH), CDT, Intel, Google, ATSI, and many others.
We hope to see you in DC, but even if you can’t be there in person you can urge Congress to update privacy law by signing our petition.