EFF, along with more than 70 civil liberties organizations, public interest groups, and companies sent two letters to the House and Senate leadership today. One supported HR 1852, the bipartisan Email Privacy Act, and the other supported Senate companion bill S. 607, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2013 (.pdf). The bills aim to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), an archaic law that's been used by the government to obtain emails without getting a probable cause warrant. The bills are sponsored by a wide range of lawmakers like Senators Patrick Leahy and Mike Lee, and Representatives Kevin Yoder, Tom Graves, and Jared Polis.
The letters are part of a larger push from the Digital Due Process Coalition to pass the two bills. The Email Privacy Act in the House has over 260 cosponsors, while the Senate bill is ready for a final vote. Both bills will codify the precedent set by the Sixth Circuit, which ruled in US v. Warshak that users have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their email. The bills ensure the government must obtain a warrant in all contexts before it looks at your private online messages.
The coalition letters urge congressional leaders to set a vote on both bills. The letters also encourage passing the bills since they
would eliminate outdated discrepancies between the legal process for government access to data stored locally in one’s home or office and the process for the same data stored with third parties in the Internet “cloud.”
Signers include the American Civil Liberties Union, Microsoft, Google, Rackspace, Dropbox, Freedomworks, Apple, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and others.