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Government Surveillance

Congress Moves Forward on Protecting Americans’ Digital Privacy

Today, bills in both the U.S. House and Senate were introduced to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The bills would update the nearly 20 year-old law and enhance the privacy protections of information stored digitally in the cloud, including emails. The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) has long advocated for ECPA reform, demanding that a warrant be required for law enforcement to access digital communications in the same way they are required for physical communications.

The House version of the bill, the Email Privacy Act, was introduced by Representatives Kevin Yoder and Jared Polis, and currently has 228 co-sponsors. The Senate version, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act, was introduced by Senators Mike Lee and Patrick Leahy.

“Reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act is a truly bipartisan measure that enjoys the support of a large majority of Americans. Speedy passage would be a strong signal that Congress plans to move past the stalemates and partisanship of previous years and update the law to protect the privacy of Americans online,” said Chris Calabrese, CDT Senior Policy Director.

“CDT is grateful to the sponsors and co-sponsors of these bills. Their tireless work in securing broad sponsorship makes this ripe for Congressional action,” Calabrese added.