House Hits Majority on Email Privacy Bill

June 18, 2014 9:59 am

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Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Online Privacy Passes 218 Co-Sponsor Threshold

June 18, 2014

WASHINGTON – The Digital 4th coalition released the following statements regarding the Email Privacy Act reaching 218 co-sponsors, a critical number in the House of Representatives because it means a majority of members support the legislation. The lead sponsors, Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), are joined by more than half of their colleagues in calling for updating the antiquated Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). As currently written, ECPA says that government officials can access Americans’ private online communications, such as emails and social media accounts, without a warrant from a judge.

“The House needs to act now. Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Americans’ emails, photos, documents, and other online communications lack the Fourth Amendment protections guaranteed by our Constitution. The Email Privacy Act should be cleanly passed through the House Committee on the Judiciary and brought to the floor without amendments for a recorded vote. This legislation is critical to Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights,” said Katie McAuliffe of Americans for Tax Reform, which is a member of Digital 4th.

The bipartisan Email Privacy Act would strengthen online privacy by establishing a warrant requirement in order for the government to force service providers to disclose the private online communications and documents of their customers.

“ECPA was passed before the web was even invented, in contrast to today when most Americans have multiple email addresses and social media accounts and utilize cloud storage on a daily basis. Though our technology has advanced over recent decades, the law governing online privacy has failed to evolve over time. However, with over 218 co-sponsors now signed on in support of the Email Privacy Act, Americans’ electronic communications can be protected from unwarranted government intrusion,” said Christopher Calabrese, legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union, which is a member of Digital 4th.

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