Reform ECPA and Expand Privacy Rights to the Internet
Privacy rights should not stop online. Our mission at Digital 4th is to extend Fourth Amendment rights to the digital age by updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Private communications online need to be protected, just as they are when they occur through the mail or over the phone. Tracking a cell phone’s location over time should require a warrant, just like tracking a vehicle by attaching a GPS device does. By reforming ECPA, we can ensure all private communications and documents stored online receive the same protections from unreasonable search and seizure as information locally stored.
The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable search and seizure of our “persons, houses, papers and effects.” The government can’t open our postal mail without a warrant. It can’t search our office files. It can’t tap our telephones without going before a judge and showing probable cause to believe we are committing a crime.
This might come as a shock to you, but the privacy of many of your electronic communications has a six-month expiration date.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Digital 4th coalition announced a nationwide day of action on Thursday, December 5, calling for reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The day will bring together technology companies, startups and advocates to call on the White House to support modernizing ECPA and keep the government out of Americans’ private online communications. It will also encourage Americans to sign the petition, which urges the White House to break its silence and stand up for ECPA reform.
ECPA reform -- which may sound boring, but is incredibly important. These are the very out of date rules concerning when law enforcement needs (and more importantly, when they don't need) to get a warrant to sniff through your personal data.