| Press Release | Washington D.C.

 

Members of Congress

 

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA): “H.R. 699, at its core, establishes for the first time in federal statute a uniform warrant requirement for stored communication content in criminal investigations, regardless of the type of service provider, the age of an email, or whether the email has been opened.  The core of H.R. 699 is a significant reform and should not be dismissed at trifle.  It establishes a standard that embodies the principles of the Fourth Amendment and reaffirms our commitment to protecting the privacy interests of the American people.” (Chairman Goodlatte Opening Statement at Markup, House Judiciary Committee, 4/13/16).

 

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA): “Americans have demanded commonsense privacy protections for their online communications and the majority of Congress agrees overwhelmingly. It’s time to update this archaic law, and we urge Chairman Goodlatte and the House Judiciary Committee to move the Email Privacy Act forward, without substantial changes as sponsored by more than two-thirds of Congress, and more importantly, as the American people deserve.” (Congress, it’s time to vote on email privacy, The Hill, 4/13/16).

 

Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS): “Today is a great day for not only the Fourth Amendment advocates who have fought long and hard to move the Email Privacy Act, but also for all Americans, who are one step closer to having private and secure digital communications. I want to thank Chairman Goodlatte and the Committee for coming to an agreement that achieves the goals of the most-widely supported legislation in Congress. Mr. Speaker, now’s the time to take up this bill on the House floor and send it to the President’s desk for his signature.” (House Judiciary Committee Passes Email Privacy Act, Office of Congressman Kevin Yoder, 4/13/16).

 

Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX): “Today the House Judiciary Committee took a historic step to finally reform the outdated 1986 ECPA law to keep up with today’s digital world… Simply put, the government should not be able to snoop and spy on our movements through smart phones and other devices. The Fourth Amendment does not have an exception that says: ‘except in the digital world’ or ‘except in national security instances’…It is my hope that the Email Privacy Act is the start, not the end, of our review of privacy and the Fourth Amendment in the digital age.” (Poe Hails the Passage of the Email Privacy Act, Office of Congressman Ted Poe, 4/13/16).

 

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT): “Last year we partnered with Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers to protect Americans’ privacy in the USA FREEDOM Act, and now we applaud them for their leadership in moving the Email Privacy Act through the House Judiciary Committee…The broad, bipartisan coalition that cuts across industry, civil society, and academia deserves credit for their members’ tireless work to move this bill.  Congress has waited far too long to enact these reforms, but we are one step closer today.  We urge the full House to pass this bill soon so the Senate can do the same.  The American people deserve a law that matches today’s digital age.” (Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Mike Lee on the House Judiciary Committee Approving the Bipartisan Email Privacy Act, Office of Senator Leahy, 4/13/16).

 

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY): “ECPA was passed in 1986, before email communication was so common or pervasive in our lives, not to mention the countless other functions we rely on daily using the internet and technology.  In an era where government access to peoples’ private information held by third-party providers has become far too easy, Congress is finally taking steps to update our laws to reflect our new understanding of what it means for people to be ‘secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.’” (Congressman Nadler Continues Longstanding Fight on Privacy and Technology by Cosponsoring New Email Privacy Act, Office of Congressman Nadler, 4/13/16).

 

Statements

 

Chris Calabrese, Vice President of Policy, Center for Democracy & Technology: “Every single American will enjoy greater privacy protection in their personal communications with the passage of the Email Privacy Act. It’s a huge step forward to bring the same protections we enjoy in our homes to our digital lives. With such overwhelming support, the House should move quickly to vote for and pass this essential bill.” (Chris Calabrese, Center for Democracy & Technology, 4/13/16).

 

Adam Brandon, CEO, FreedomWorks: “When the Electronic Communications Privacy Act was originally passed by Congress, The Golden Girls was one of the top shows on television, the 8-bit Nintendo was the hot item that every kid wanted, and my Cleveland Browns had a winning record. That was 30 years ago, and this antiquated law is in dire need of an upgrade. The Email Privacy Act is a common-sense piece of legislation that would bring ECPA into the 21st Century. We appreciate Chairman Goodlatte and the House Judiciary Committee’s work on this bill, and we urge House leadership to bring it to the floor for a vote.” (Adam Brandon, FreedomWorks, 4/13/16).

 

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF): “EFF has pushed for an update to ECPA for over 6 years as part of the Digital Due Process Coalition, which is comprised of civil society groups and companies like the ACLU, Google, and Facebook. We are proud to support Rep. Goodlatte in updating ECPA. And we urge the Senate to take up the amended bill and pass it without any changes once the full House votes on it.” (Electronic Frontier Foundation, 4/12/16).

 

Nathan Leamer, Policy Analyst, R Street Institute: “This legislation represents a balanced, bipartisan approach to restore the privacy millions of Americans expect to enjoy in their email and other forms of online communication. We urge the committee to forward the legislation to the House floor for consideration as soon as possible. Most of our lives are on our screens. It’s about time we expand essential Fourth Amendment protections to our phones and computer correspondence.” (Nathan Leamer, R Street Institute, 4/13/16).

 

Ross Schulman, Senior Counsel, New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI): “The time has long since passed to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, and OTI is excited to finally see the House move on this bill that would do so much to protect the private information of Americans. While the latest version of the bill is not perfect and eliminates some important protections that we supported, the new bill still marks a large step forward. OTI calls on the full House, as well as the Senate, to move forward with this bill that has already garnered the support of over 300 cosponsors. OTI also looks forward to Congress continuing to grapple with other important issues of privacy in the digital age, including the still-unresolved issue of cell phone location tracking.” (Ross Schulman, New America’s Open Technology Institute, 4/13/16).

 

Nicole Mortier, Director of Federal Government Affairs, Yahoo!: “The passage today of the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699) by the House Judiciary Committee is a leap forward in bringing ECPA up to date with users’ expectations of digital privacy while also recognizing the needs of law enforcement. Importantly, the legislation requires law enforcement to obtain a warrant in order to access the content of stored communications, like email. This would put an end to an arbitrary and antiquated rule that allows law enforcement to access stored content that is 180 days old or older with just a subpoena.” (Nicole Mortier, Yahoo!, 4/13/16).

 

Berin Szoka, President, TechFreedom: “That’s one small step for privacy, one giant leap for the House Judiciary Committee. Today’s reform means catching up, just barely, with the Internet of 2004–the year when Gmail launched and ordinary Americans began storing their most personal communications in the ‘cloud.'” (Berin Szoka, TechFreedom, 4/13/16).

 

Linda Moore, President & CEO, TechNet: “Today, the House Judiciary Committee took a major step toward updating these laws.  The bill approved by the committee today makes clear that the warrant standard of the U.S. Constitution applies to private digital information just as it applies to physical property.  It also ends ECPA’s arbitrary ‘180-day rule,’ which permits email communications to be obtained without a warrant after 180 days.  And, it ensures that a document stored in the cloud receives the same protections that it would if it were stored under user control. On behalf of TechNet, I thank the House Judiciary Committee for approving this legislation.  We urge the full House and Senate to pass ECPA reform legislation as soon as possible.” (Linda Moore, TechNet, 4/13/16).

 

Ed Black, President & CEO, Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA): “As more and more communications are now stored in the cloud, updating privacy laws for the digital age is essential. The bill the Committee approved today sets an important standard of protection—government access to email content should require a warrant.” (Ed Black, CCIA, 4/13/16).

 

Daniel Castro, Vice President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF): “Americans expect that their data will receive Fourth Amendment protections regardless of the means used to store it, and this legislation will help bridge that divide.” (Major online privacy bill easily clears first vote in Congress, The Daily Dot, 4/13/16).

 

Gary Shapiro, President, Consumer Technology Association (CTA): “[It’s] clearly time for federal law to reflect the realities of today’s technology, and we urge the House to prioritize consumers’ right to privacy and quickly pass this bill.” (Major online privacy bill easily clears first vote in Congress, The Daily Dot, 4/13/16).

 

Michael Beckerman, President & CEO, Internet Association: “Today’s progress on ECPA reform marks a significant step forward in ongoing efforts to safeguard the privacy of Internet users and their electronically stored content online…The Internet industry calls on House and Senate Leadership to send this bill to President Obama’s desk.” (Michael Beckerman, Internet Association, 4/13/16).

 

Dean Garfield, President & CEO, Information Technology Industry Council (ITI): “Today’s vote in the House Judiciary Committee approving the Email Privacy Act moves us that much closer to updating the woefully outdated thirty-year old Electronic Communications Privacy Act. We thank Chairman Bob Goodlatte and ranking member John Conyers for working together in a bipartisan fashion to ensure that Americans’ email has the same privacy protections under the law as their regular mail. With 315 Members of Congress supporting this measure, it is rare to find an issue that has garnered this much broad bipartisan support. Speaker Ryan could be the most popular man in Congress by bringing this measure to the House floor quickly so lawmakers can have an opportunity to vote on these necessary reforms.” (Dean Garfield, ITI, 4/13/16).

 

Sari Feldman, President, American Library Association (ALA): “We need swift action to finally carve these critical reforms into statutory stone. On behalf of the tens of millions of Americans who depend upon libraries for their sole access to the internet, and all of our patrons, we urge the Speaker and Majority Leader to allow the more than 300 Members of the House who cosponsored the original Email Privacy Act to vote on the bill approved today without further delay, and call upon the Senate to immediately follow suit.” (Sari Feldman, American Library Association, 4/13/16).

 

Association of Research Libraries (ARL): “As libraries and universities move services into the cloud and more communications take place online, it is critical that the Fourth Amendment protect information long considered to be private—including what individuals are reading or researching, and to whom they are talking—even in the digital world. The time for reform is long overdue and ARL applauds the House Judiciary Committee in moving forward, passing the Email Privacy Act through the committee with a unanimous 28-0 vote.” (ARL, 4/13/16).

 

Elizabeth Hyman, Executive Vice President, CompTIA: “After years of hard work, today marked a huge step towards much-needed reform of an outdated law. Reforming ECPA to require a warrant for content is crucial to protecting Americans’ privacy, and we thank the Committee for passing this bill without amendments like a civil agency carveout or a mandatory emergency exception that could have diminished that privacy protection. With 314 co-sponsors, we hope that this bill quickly moves to the House floor, and that the Senate takes similar steps in the coming months.” (Elizabeth Hyman, CompTIA, 4/13/16).

 

Mark MacCarthy, Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA): “This badly needed update to ECPA will give consumers the confidence of knowing that personal data stored in the cloud has the same legal protection as data on their own computer…With 300 House cosponsors and today’s bipartisan approval by the Judiciary Committee, the legislation is now cleared for prompt passage by the full House, and consideration in the Senate.” (Mark MacCarthy, SIIA, 4/13/16).

 

Morgan Reed, Executive Director, ACT | The App Association: “The overwhelming vote in the Judiciary Committee today reflects broad support in Congress and throughout the country to modernize our outdated data protection laws. Consumers now expect documents stored in online folders to have the same privacy rights as those stored in a filing cabinet. More than three-quarters of the House of Representatives supports the Email Privacy Act. The unanimous vote today demonstrates the urgency for clarity in data privacy and law enforcement access to cloud storage.” (Morgan Reed, ACT | The App Association, 4/13/16).

 

Letter To House Judiciary Committee From 60 Civil Society Organizations, Companies And Trade Associations, Including Adobe, Amazon, American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Center for Democracy & Technology, Cisco, Dropbox, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Engine, Facebook, Google, Internet Association, Microsoft, Snapchat, Twitter & Yahoo!: “We, the undersigned civil society organizations, companies and trade associations, write to express our support for the Manager’s Substitute Amendment to the Email Privacy Act…The bill would end ECPA’s arbitrary ‘180-day rule,’ which permits email communications to be obtained without a warrant after 180 days…We are particularly pleased that the Manager’s Substitute does not carve out civil agencies from the warrant requirement, which would have expanded government surveillance power and undermined the very purpose of the bill.” (Letter in Support of Manager’s Amendment to the Email Privacy Act, 4/13/16).

 

BSA | The Software Alliance: “By requiring a warrant for law enforcement to gain access to users’ private data in the cloud, this legislation ensures that BSA member companies can continue to be strong stewards of their customers’ data. Its eventual passage will only serve to underscore the strength of privacy protections under US law.” (BSA The Software Alliance, 4/13/16).

 

Media

 

The Washington Post: Email privacy bill advances with strong support: “Currently, the government needs a court order to obtain email less than 180 days old, but can read these messages with only a subpoena if they’re more than 180 days old. But the law that set that standard was written before Gmail, Yahoo and other web-based email services became widely used and offered users a way to store their email on ‘the cloud,’ instead of on their personal computer’s hard drive. Under the bill approved by the House Judiciary Committee on 28 to 0 vote, authorities would need a warrant to read any email.” (The Washington Post, Karoum Demirjian, 4/13/16).

 

USA Today: House panel approves bill to protect older email from government snooping: “A key House panel voted Wednesday to pass an email privacy bill that would stop the government from being able to read Americans’ old emails without a warrant. The House Judiciary Committee voted 28-0 to approve the Email Privacy Act, a bipartisan bill that would replace a 1986 law that allows government investigators to peruse emails at will if the communications are at least six months old. The bill would require federal officials to obtain a warrant before they can read or view emails, texts, photos or instant messages — regardless of when the data was sent.” (USA Today, Erin Kelly, 4/13/16).

 

The Hill: Bill requiring warrant for emails takes step forward in the House: “The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved a bill to protect the private emails of Americans from the government, marking a small step forward for one of the most widely supported bill in Congress. The committee on a unanimous 28-0 vote approved the Email Privacy Act, which would require that law enforcement obtain a warrant before forcing a technology company to hand over a customer’s emails or other electronic communications, no matter how old they are.  The authors of the bill are confident that the committee vote will start a push to get the bill to the president’s desk this year.” (The Hill, Mario Trujillo, 4/13/16).

 

Politico: House Judiciary approves ECPA reform bill: “The House Judiciary Committee today unanimously cleared a bill to boost Americans’ digital privacy protections. The measure, introduced by Reps. Kevin Yoder and Jared Polis three years ago, would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before accessing someone’s email or other digital content. Under current law, cops sometimes only need a subpoena. The bill, which has more co-sponsors than any other legislation in the House, has long been a priority for tech companies and privacy groups. While a similar measure has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, today’s approval is the first movement for the reform effort in the House.” (Politico, Alex Byers, 4/13/16).

 

Reuters: Long-stalled email privacy bill advances in Congress: “Legislation that would require law enforcement to obtain a search warrant before asking technology companies to hand over dated emails unanimously moved forward in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday…The House Judiciary Committee voted 28-0 to approve the Email Privacy Act, which would update a decades-old federal law to require federal authorities obtain a search warrant to access emails or other digital communications that are more than 180 days old.” (Reuters, Dustin Volz, 4/13/16).

 

Ars Technica: US House Committee approves bill requiring warrants for e-mail: “In addition to e-mail, the bill spells out that warrants are required for all online documents and other private electronic documents like photos, just like warrants are needed for physical papers and effects. Government agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission had lobbied against the measure and wanted it to be carved out of the law. The SEC said it would make its job of policing securities fraud more difficult. The House version did not cave to the SEC.” (Ars Technica, David Kravets, 4/13/16).

 

U.S. News & World Report: Emails Closer to Warrant Protection as Enormously Popular Bill Advances: “Committee members who attended the Wednesday session unanimously voted to send the bill to the full House for consideration. The reform would modify the Stored Communications Act of 1986, which was implemented before most Americans used email and allows for the warrantless collection of older emails, along with arguably the warrantless collection of opened emails sent within the last 180 days.” (U.S. News & World Report, Steven Nelson, 4/13/16).

 

Multichannel News: House Judiciary Approves Email Privacy Act: “The House Judiciary Committee has unanimously approved the Email Privacy Act (EPA), which would update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to, among other things, require the government to get a warrant to access e-mails, social media posts and other online content stored by Internet service providers and other e-mail service providers–like Google.” (Multichannel News, John Eggerton, 4/13/16).

 

The Daily Dot: Major online privacy bill easily clears first vote in Congress: “A popular online privacy bill easily cleared its first hurdle in the House on Tuesday. The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed (28-0) the Email Privacy Act, which eliminates a loophole allowing authorities to get some electronic records without a warrant. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), has more than 300 sponsors and is expected to sail through the full chamber.” (The Daily Dot, Eric Geller, 4/13/16).

 

PC World: House panel moves to require warrants for stored data: “It’s time to reform ECPA, said Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican and committee chairman. The bill ‘reaffirms our commitment to protect the privacy interests of the American people,’ he said. The bill, which now awaits action on the House floor, has 314 co-sponsors, more than three-quarters of the body’s members. It’s unclear, however, if the legislation can pass both the House and the Senate this year, because the legislative process often grinds to a halt in the final months before a national election.” (PC World, Grant Gross, 4/13/16).

 

Morning Consult: House Judiciary Panel Advances Email Privacy Act: “The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday 28-0 to advance a widely supported privacy bill, the Email Privacy Act. The measure would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before compelling third party providers to provide the content of communications stored for more than 180 days or in a cloud service.” (Morning Consult, Amir Nasr, 4/13/16).