House Judiciary Committee Moves on Email Privacy Act
In a press release earlier today, the House Judiciary Chairman announced the Committee would move forward with the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699). The Email Privacy Act would amend the existing Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), bringing it into the age of computers and email.
According to Chairman Goodlatte, the ECPA “needs to be modernized and updated to ensure it keeps pace with ever-changing technologies so that we protect Americans’ constitutional rights and provide law enforcement with the tools they need for criminal investigations in the digital age.”
The Email Privacy Act has been co-sponsored by more than 300 Representatives and enjoys a broad base of support from privacy and civil rights advocates on both sides of the political aisle. It seeks to update the ECPA by ensuring “whether [ ] information is stored online, in the cloud or in a file cabinet, government officials must go through the same search warrant process to access it.”
Privacy and warrant requirements have been an important topic in the states, as well. Several states, such as California, enacted or introduced measures similar to the Email Privacy Act. In California, ALEC member Senator Joel Anderson helped lead the fight to enact California’s Electronic Communications Privacy Act.