September 10, 2014 | By Mark Jaycox

More Than 70 Public Interest Organizations and Companies Urge Congress to Update Email Privacy Law

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would  eliminate  outdated  discrepancies  between  the  legal process for  government  access  to  data  stored  locally  in  one’s  home  or  office  and  the  process  for  the  same 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.

Join us now in helping push the bills forward by emailing your lawmaker and telling them to cosponsor the bills!


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