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Government Surveillance


Read answers to readers’ questions on ECPA.

On September 22, CDT Vice President Jim Dempsey (pictured left) will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the need to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, known as “ECPA,” that sets the rules for law enforcement surveillance of email and other communications. The hearing represents the first Senate review of the law since it was adopted 24 years ago. Although ECPA was forward-looking when adopted, technological advances have outstripped its privacy protections.

Dempsey is a leading expert on privacy, government surveillance and national security and testifies frequently before Congress on these issues. From September 16-24, he will take questions from PolicyBeta readers about ECPA reform.

While the law affects all of us everyday, it is little understood:

  • When can the government read your email?
  • What does it take for the government to use your cell phone as a tracking device?

The answers to these questions and other questions can be surprising – and demonstrate why ECPA needs to be reformed.

Please submit your questions in the comments section below; PolicyBeta’s comments section is moderated. We will review the questions and choose the best for Jim to answer. Those answers will be published here on PolicyBeta.