WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Digital 4th coalition, members of Digital Due Process and other partners announced the White House petition to reform America’s online privacy laws surpassed 100,000 signatures, garnering support from citizens across the country to keep the government out of online communications. Joined by privacy groups, technology companies, entrepreneurs, advocates and many others, the petition calls on the White House to support updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) without civil agency carve outs and make it clear that government agents cannot read citizens’ email without a warrant.
“ECPA reform is catching fire. Behind these 100,000 signatures are dozens of groups from the left and right committed to this issue. We explained to the public that regulatory agencies like the SEC want access to email without a warrant. The public showed they want a clean ECPA reform bill, without special carve outs for regulatory agencies,” said Greg Nojeim, Senior Counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT).
“0In the last month, we’ve seen an incredible surge in support for ECPA reform. Tens of thousands of Americans joined together in calling on the Administration to keep the government out of our private online communications by updating ECPA. The success of the petition and outpouring of support for reform through social media channels demonstrates the intense level of concern regarding our outdated online privacy laws. Congress and the Administration should show they respect Americans’ privacy by passing ECPA reform now, without any loopholes for federal agencies,” said Katie McAuliffe, Federal Affairs Manager at Americans for Tax Reform (ATR).
“It isn’t surprising that over 100,000 people are demanding their electronic privacy once they found out their communications weren’t adequately protected,” said Christopher Calabrese, legislative counsel at the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. “We urge President Obama to publicly support ECPA reform and require police to get a warrant in all cases before accessing the contents of our electronic communications stored with service providers. It’s time the law caught up to a world where people overwhelmingly communicate electronically.
“Today marks the beginning of the end of law enforcement’s ability to read Americans’ emails without a warrant. With growing support for reform in both parties, a clear expression of support from the Administration should be all it takes to finally pass ECPA reform. That victory will be the first towards a longer fight to limit law enforcement’s ability to track our mobile devices and to rein in unconstitutional surveillance by national security agencies,” said Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom.
“The NSA scandal and backlash has proven that Americans value their privacy a lot more than the government thought. What most people don’t know, though, is that local law enforcement agencies and huge bureaucracies like the IRS have been prying into their email and text messages for years. Today is a historic step toward restoring sanity to the laws that protect our privacy — which by definition are the laws that protect our democracy,” said Holmes Wilson, co-founder of Fight for the Future.