With only one day left for the White House petition to reform ECPA, TF President Berin Szoka took to RedState to illustrate just how important this fight is in the larger battle against mass surveillance:
ECPA reform would restore a core constitutional principle: with narrow exceptions for emergencies, law enforcement should have to get a warrant for searches and seizures. This privacy protection should have extended to online files just as it does to files on your computer, but an activist Supreme Court in the 1960s mucked up the law by holding that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to files held by third parties — like cloud email providers.
It may seem unfair that this is the first step in the surveillance battle. After all, ECPA is a complicated, arcane issue that’s gotten only a fraction of the attention the NSA has. But hey, politics ain’t fair. It’s all about optics. Momentum is critical.