Police and other law enforcement can conduct warrantless searches of Americans’ emails, cloud storage, and other digital effects, because our law is outdated. Lawmakers wrote the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) in a pre-Internet era where today’s concerns did not apply. While ECPA’s provisions attempt to protect stored electronic communications, authorities exploit the arbitrary cracks and loopholes in the law, which renders our data unprotected.
An extraordinarily diverse coalition has been pushing for ECPA reform for almost four and and a half years. Now, finally, we’ve reached a tipping point: over half the House of Representatives now supports The Email Privacy Act. This bill would require law enforcement to get warrants from a judge before accessing private data stored online. It’s time for Congress to swiftly pass this common-sense reform. The bill enjoys bipartisan support in Congress and is backed by 84% of the American public.
Privacy concerns are at the forefront of voters’ minds, and this bill allows congressmen to show they take their constituents’ privacy seriously. Critics charge that the Email Privacy Act would jeopardize effective law enforcement, but FBI Director James Comey admitted in a recent House hearing that the bill would have no such effect. Congress must act to guarantee that our Fourth Amendment rights are respected in the digital world.
Want to join in the fight? Help us ensure that Speaker Boehner brings the Email Privacy Act to the House floor for a vote. To stop warrantless searches of your emails, go to VanishingRights.com to see if your representative is a sponsor — if they’re not, ask them to be, and if they are, thank them!