Digital 4th – a privacy coalition comprised of Americans for Tax Reform, American Civil Liberties Union, Heritage Action for America and the Center for Democracy & Technology reacted to the Supreme Court’s ruling that police must obtain a warrant before searching mobile devices. In Riley v. California, the Court decided unanimously that Americans’ privacy is a priority and the government¹s access to cell phones is permitted only with a warrant issued by a judge.
“While the decision did not specifically address the issue of content stored in the cloud, the Court¹s rationale suggests that email and documents stored in the cloud and accessible to an individual on a smart phone, tablet or laptop are protected by the Fourth Amendment requiring a warrant for government access. After all, it shouldn’t matter if Americans’ data is stored locally or in the cloud. The bottom line is that personal information should be protected from government intrusion,’ Jim Dempsey, Vice President of Public Policy Center for Democracy & Technology.
“But there’s even better news for privacy, because we do not have to wait for the Supreme Court to rule. Legislation has been introduced in Congress to protect our online information by updating the Electronic Communication Privacy Act (ECPA). The Email Privacy Act and ECPA Amendments Act would codify the warrant for content rule and settle the matter, rather than leaving the issue unclear for years or decades more. It is time for Congress to enact this legislation,” said Katie McAuliffe, Federal Affairs Manager and Executive Director of Digital Liberty at Americans for Tax Reform.
The Email Privacy Act, introduced by Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) has 220 co-sponsors — more than half of the House of Representatives, and companion legislation was reported unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee.