Thank you to the more than eighty organizations that joined the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA) in signing-on to US Congressional letters that the Digital Due Process (DDP) coalition sent to Senate and House of Representatives leaders this week.
The DDP letters advocate reform of the seriously outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to protect data stored in the cloud.
Very significant progress has been made in recent months to garner support for HR 1852: The Email Privacy Act (EPA) in the House, and its companion in the Senate, S 607: Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act (ECPAAA), and we are now pressing for passage during this session of Congress.
The House letter reads as follows:
"We write to urge you to bring to the floor H.R. 1852, the bipartisan Yoder- Polis bill updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).
Updating ECPA would respond to the deeply held concerns of Americans about their privacy.
H.R. 1852 would make it clear that the warrant standard of the U.S. Constitution applies to private digital information just as it applies to physical property.
The Yoder- Polis bill would aid American companies seeking to innovate and compete globally.
It would eliminate outdated discrepancies between the legal process for government access to data stored locally in one’s home or office and the process for the same data stored with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.’
Consumers and businesses large and small are increasingly taking advantage of the efficiencies offered by web-based services.
American companies have been leaders in this field.
Yet ECPA, written in 1986, says that data stored in the cloud should be afforded less protection than data stored locally.
Removing uncertainty about the standards for government access to data stored online will encourage consumers and companies, including those outside the U.S., to utilize these services.
H.R. 1852 would not impede law enforcement.
The U.S. Department of Justice already follows the warrant-for-content rule of H.R. 1852.
The only resistance to reform comes from civil regulatory agencies that want an exception allowing them to obtain the content of customer documents and communications directly from third party service providers.
That would expand government power; government regulators currently cannot compel service providers to disclose their customers’ communications.
It would prejudice the innovative services that we want to support, creating one procedure for data stored locally and a different one for data stored in the cloud.
For these reasons, we oppose a carve-out for regulatory agencies or other rules that would treat private data differently depending on the type of technology used to store it.
H.R. 1852 is co-sponsored by over 260 Members, including a majority of the majority.
We urge you to bring it to the floor.
We believe it would pass overwhelmingly, proving to Americans and the rest of the world that the U.S. legal system values privacy in the digital age.
Adobe, ACT | The App Association, American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), American Library Association (ALA), Americans for Tax Reform, AOL, Apple, A Small Orange, Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Automattic, Autonet Mobile, Blacklight, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, BSA | The Software Alliance, Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights (FPHR), Cheval Capital, CloudTech1, Code Guard, Coughlin Associates, Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), The Constitution Project, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Data Foundry, Digital Liberty, Direct Marketing Association (DMA), Disconnect, Discovery Institute, Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA), Dropbox, DuckDuckGo, Endurance International Group (EIG), Evernote, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Engine Advocacy, Facebook, Foursquare, FreedomWorks, Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), Gandi, Golden Frog, Google, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), The Internet Association, Intuit, Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2Coalition), Kwaai Oak, Less Government, LinkedIn, Media Science International (MSI), Microsoft, NetChoice, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Newspaper Association of America (NAA), Oracle, Peer1 Hosting, Personal, Rackspace, Records Preservation and Access Committee, R Street Institute, reddit, ScreenPlay, Servint, Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), Symantec, Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), Tech Assets, TechFreedom, TechNet, Tucows, Tumblr, Twitter, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Yahoo! Inc.”
The Senate letter was presented to DCINFO readers here.
With HR 1852 and S 607, American lawmakers have the rare opportunity to update digital communications privacy for the 21st century by providing the same amount of privacy to data stored in the cloud as to information stored on premises.
This Wednesday September 17th is Constitution Day.
What a great opportunity to let your elected officials know that there is no better time to pass ECPA reform and affirm Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights online.
By passing these measures, Congress can show it takes its constituents’ privacy seriously — and that it can enact meaningful reform, which will level the playing field for the protection of electronic communications.
Share wisely, and take care.