WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Digital 4th coalition unveiled new poll results showing broad and diverse support for stronger email privacy protections among likely Iowa caucus goers. According to a survey by Vox Populi Polling, 81% of Democratic voters and 76% of Republican voters in Iowa support an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the 29-year-old law setting standards for government access to email and online communications.
The results also revealed that ECPA correlates more strongly with certain candidates. For instance, 91% of Jeb Bush supporters and 71% of Ted Cruz supporters are in favor of reform. On the Democratic side, 89% of Clinton supporters and 77% of Sanders supporters are behind reform.
“Support for strengthening online privacy spans across all ages, races and political affiliations. This level of support is typically unheard of in politics today. Considering implications for the upcoming 2016 elections, and the level of support among likely Iowa caucus voters, political candidates should take notice of this overwhelming support for ECPA reform,” said Michael Meyers of Vox Populi Polling.
“Privacy is an important issue, and we hope presidential candidates will support strengthening protections online. ECPA has not been updated for nearly three decades, and we are pleased to see Iowa voters support updating the law for the digital age,” said Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel and Policy Advisor at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of the Digital 4th coalition.
“What’s particularly illuminating is that more than two out of every three Iowa voters believe that the government needs to get a warrant before accessing emails and other online communications. Federal agencies like the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) have been advocating to circumvent the warrant requirement. It’s clear that Iowa voters see this as nothing more than a power grab,” said Katie McAuliffe, Federal Affairs Manager at Americans Tax Reform (ATR) of the Digital 4th coalition.
Other notable numbers from the poll include:
- 75% of Iowa voters feel that it is important for there to be limits on the government’s access to private communications stored online like emails (73% of Republicans and 76% of Democrats).
- 66% of voters reported that a warrant should be required to access these online communications (67% of Republicans and 65% of Democrats).
- ECPA reform does have an effect on presidential candidate choice. 36% of likely Iowa voters stated that they would be more inclined to vote for a candidate who supported strengthening online privacy through ECPA reform (33% of Republicans and 38% of Democrats).
To read a memo on the full polling results, click here.
562 active Republican voters were surveyed in this study. The margin of error is +/- 4.1%. All interviews were conducted November 11-12, 2015. 311 active Democratic voters were surveyed in this study. The margin of error is +/- 5.5%. All interviews were conducted November 11-12, 2015.
ECPA was enacted into law in 1986, long before most Americans had email. As written, the law grants the government unwarranted access to Americans’ private emails, photos, documents and even social media stored for more than 180 days. Reforming this antiquated law is necessary and long overdue, a sentiment the majority of voters support.