The Digital Due Process (DDP) coalition, in which the DCIA is a participant, for more than two years has advocated reform of the seriously outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to protect data stored in the cloud.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 US House of Representatives, and its companion in the US Senate, S 607: Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act (ECPAAA).
American lawmakers can show they take their constituents’ privacy seriously — and that they can enact meaningful reform, which will level the playing field for the protection of electronic communications — by passing these bills.
These measures will require government agents to obtain warrants from a judge in order to force service providers to disclose private data they store in the cloud for their customers.
DCIA Member companies and leading private sector organizations are invited to sign-on to the following letter that DDP will present to Congressional leaders this week.
If you’d like to sign-on, please email me here.
We’ll add your company or entity’s name to the signatories, and send you a final copy for your records.
The Senate version is shown below — the House version will reference that there are now 260 co-sponsors, a majority of Members:
"We write to urge you to bring to the floor S. 607, the bipartisan Leahy-Lee bill updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).
Updating ECPA would respond to the deeply held concerns of Americans about their privacy. S. 607 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 Leahy-Lee 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 It would eliminate outdated discrepancies between the legal process for government access to data stored locally in one’s home or office and the process for the same data stored with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.
S. 607 would not impede law enforcement. The U.S. Department of Justice already follows the warrant-for-content rule of S. 607. 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.
S. 607 was approved by the Judiciary Committee last year. (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.”
With HR 1852 and S 607, Congress has the rare opportunity to update digital communications privacy for the 21st century by providing the same amount of privacy to online as offline communications, as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.
Feel free to contact me with questions. Share wisely, and take care.