WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today marks 29 years since President Ronald Reagan signed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) into law in 1986. While ECPA was originally intended to protect our online communications, the outdated legislation enables the government to access private emails older than 6 months without a warrant. Two bipartisan efforts with overwhelming support in the House and the Senate are currently seeking to fix this loophole and extend full Fourth Amendment protections to all of our electronic communications. The Email Privacy Act in the House has 300 co-sponsors, while the ECPA Amendments Act in the Senate added Sen. Bernie Sanders for a total of 25 co-sponsors.
“Look around your home or office – it’s hard to find any electronics that are more than a few years old. It’s ridiculous that the law that protects them is almost 30. It’s time Congress updated the law for the 21st century,” said Chris Calabrese, Vice President of Public Policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), and a member of the Digital 4th coalition.
“Today marks another a year when our emails, tweets and other online communications remain unprotected by the Fourth Amendment. It’s time for Congress to follow the lead of California and other states who have already made progress in modernizing digital privacy laws to fit the realities of the 21st century,” Katie McAuliffe, Federal Affairs Manager at Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), and a member of the Digital 4th coalition.