The mass surveillance of American citizens by the NSA has been the leading technology policy story for months, and rightly so. But there are other important reforms in the works, like updating the Electronics Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to stop warrantless searches of Americans’ emails and data stored in the cloud. TF’s Berin Szoka talked about the issue with The Hill:
The focus on the activities of the NSA shifted Congress’s focus from law enforcement access to national security, shunting the email issue aside.
Email privacy reform “doesn’t have that direct connection to the NSA issue the way a bill like the USA Freedom Act does,” Stanley said, referring to legislation from Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) that would scale back the government’s sweeping surveillance programs.
While the debate over NSA surveillance has largely increased awareness about digital privacy concerns, it has also taken attention away from the specifics of email privacy reform.
The intricacies of requiring warrants for stored emails are “not as widely understood as the threats from the NSA,” said Berin Szoka, president of TechFreedom.
“Everyone has been so focused on the NSA,” he said. “That’s the story.”