In the aftermath of government surveillance abuses, the Digital 4th coalition has launched a petition calling on the White House to support reforming the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) in an effort to keep the government out of Americans’ private online communications. ECPA, which sets standards for government access to private information transmitted and stored on the Internet, has not been updated in nearly three decades.
Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in both the Senate and House to modernize ECPA. However, despite widespread support for strengthening privacy rights online, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other federal agencies are holding up the legislation in an effort to gain new powers of warrantless access.
“The news seems to be dominated by daily stories about the government monitoring the private lives of Americans. It’s no surprise that people are growing increasingly skeptical about how much access the government has into their private lives. Fortunately, there is something we can do about it right now. Bipartisan legislation is pending in Congress to rein in government surveillance of our online communications by requiring officials to get a warrant from a judge. We are calling on Americans to join us in our effort to reform ECPA by signing our petition.
“ECPA reform has broad support on both sides of the aisle and should be passed and signed into law without delay. President Obama must not cave in to the SEC and other federal agencies’ attempts to water down meaningful reform,” said Leslie Harris, President and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology, a member of Digital 4th.
The full text of the online petition can be found here.