An important step toward updating ECPA

Just over a month ago, we helped launch Digital Due Process, a coalition of technology companies, privacy advocates and academics working to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986 to ensure traditional privacy protections are applied to new and emerging technologies.

Today, we move one step closer as the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties holds its first hearing on the issue. At the hearing, experts like Jim Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology (a member of Digital Due Process) are expected to explain why updating ECPA will better protect users, while preserving the legal tools necessary for government agencies to enforce the laws.

Though we are not testifying today, we did submit written testimony explaining why updating ECPA is vital for both our business and our users. In our testimony, we explain that companies like Google are now able to offer individuals, businesses, educational institutions, government entities, and others the ability to store, access, use and share their data from remote servers -- but that unless we update ECPA, we run the risk of slowing adoption and innovation. Why? Because certain ECPA provisions no longer reflect the way people use the services or the reasonable expectations they have about government access to information they store in the cloud.

ECPA was written before most people used the Internet or had even heard of e-mail. As far as technology is concerned, we’re living in a different age. We hope that today’s hearing will help continue to build the needed momentum to modernize ECPA for today’s world.

For more information on our efforts, visit the Digital Due Process website or check out the video below.