Day of Action to Demand ECPA Reform
Written by Mark Stanley
Today, CDT is joining a nationwide day of action calling for reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the law that says the government can access your email and documents in the cloud without a warrant.
ECPA is one of the Internet’s most outdated laws – it was enacted in 1986, before most people had access to a home computer or email. While the public has been rightfully outraged over reports that the NSA accesses communications without a warrant, ECPA says that hundreds of other government agencies—like the IRS, FBI, and DEA, as well as state and local law enforcement agencies—can access many of our stored emails, private social media messages, and documents in the cloud without getting a warrant from a judge. The law flies directly in the face of our Fourth Amendment values; in fact, many companies have fought back and now demand warrants before turning over customers’ communications.
Bills to reform ECPA have gained huge support in recent months from both parties in Congress. However, legislation is now being blocked by a proposal from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is pushing for a special carve-out for regulatory agencies to get your documents from online providers without a warrant. The SEC carve-out would neuter ECPA reform.
That’s why we’re calling on the White House to break its silence and stand up for ECPA reform. We need President Obama to tell the SEC to back down in its demands for troubling new powers and make clear that the time for ECPA reform is now.
Today we ask you join us by signing this petition to the White House. It’s time for the President to join tech companies, startups, advocates, and Members of Congress by supporting this commonsense, long overdue reform to ensure our privacy rights online.
Day of action participating organizations:
American Association of Law Libraries
Americans for Tax Reform
American Library Association
Application Developers Alliance
Association for Competitive Technology
Association of Research Libraries
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Brennan Center for Justice
Business Software Alliance
Center for Democracy & Technology
Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights
Center for Media Justice
Center for National Security Studies
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Computer & Communications Industry Association
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Fight for the Future
Free Press Action Fund
Information Technology Industry Council
The Internet Association
Internet Infrastructure Coalition
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
NY Tech Meetup
Open Technology Institute
PEN American Center
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Software & Information Industry Association