EFF, along with more than sixty civil liberties organizations, public interest groups, and companies sent two letters to the House and Senate leadership today. One supported the upcoming bipartisan Email Privacy Act by Reps. Kevin Yoder and Jared Polis, and the other supported the upcoming Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act by Sens. Mike Lee and Patrick Leahy. 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 common sense bipartisan bills that help to codify current judicial decisions regarding the privacy of your personal online communications.
The letters are part of a larger push from the Digital Due Process Coalition to pass the two bills. Last year, the Email Privacy Act in the House has over 270 cosponsors, while the Senate bill successfully made it past the Senate Judiciary Committee. 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 quickly move on both bills. The letters also encourage passing the bills since...
[s]uccessful passage of ECPA reform sends a powerful message–Congress can act swiftly on crucial, widely supported, bipartisan legislation. Failure to enact reform sends an equally powerful message–that privacy protections are lacking in law enforcement access to user information and that constitutional values are imperiled in a digital world.
Signers include the American Civil Liberties Union, Microsoft, Google, Apple, the Business Software Alliance, Dropbox, Freedomworks, 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!