Colorado’s Tech Community Comes Out for ECPA Reform

Written by Mark Stanley

For the past several years, the tech community in Boulder, Colorado, has grown at a rapid pace, with both startups and more established Internet companies popping up in the foothills of the Rockies. Twitter recently established a presence here, along with Google and Microsoft, and the national startup accelerator TechStars, headquartered in the heart of Boulder, has launched hundreds of companies.

Boulder’s Congressional Representative Jared Polis has the right credentials for such a tech-savvy community. Before Congress, Polis was among an early class of hugely successful online entrepreneurs. In Washington, Polis has also been a steadfast defender of an open and innovative Internet. He was a strong opponent of SOPA, and he has been a vocal advocate for NSA reform. He is also a leader—along with Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS)—on a bill known as the Email Privacy Act, which would update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, or ECPA.

ECPA was passed in 1986 and says that the government can access your email and documents in the cloud without a warrant.

On Friday, Polis met with a packed room of members of Boulder’s tech community in the offices of SendGrid, a Boulder-based cloud and email company, to discuss the Email Privacy Act. As would be expected, support for the bill was strong.


On other issues, Colorado’s Congressional Delegation has been solid on digital privacy. Senator Mark Udall has been a national leader on NSA reform, along with being a cosponsor of a Senate bill to update ECPA, and all seven Colorado Representatives voted for an amendment last year to end the government’s program of bulk data collection. But only three members of the Colorado delegation have cosponsored the Email Privacy Act, even though the bill enjoys unprecedented levels of support in Congress. With tech and cloud services playing such an important role in Colorado’s future, we hope the entire Colorado Delegation will now join Representatives Polis, Tipton and Gardner in cosponsoring this long overdue privacy reform.

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