Wednesday, March 5, 2014

WebAlert: Tell Lawmakers: They Should Need a Warrant to Read My Email

Hi My Cyber Zombies,

Today I got email from ACLU Action Desk:

Hi Grace,

The rules protecting our privacy online are seriously out of date. 

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was passed in 1986 and hasn't been substantially updated since. That was back when Top Gun was in the movie theaters, mobile phones were the size of bricks, and email was in its infancy. 

While the NSA’s dragnet surveillance program has been in the spotlight recently, it’s not just their spying efforts that we need to be concerned with. 

The FBI, IRS, state and local law enforcement, and countless other government agencies are using outrageous loopholes in ECPA to read our emails, text messages, and other private electronic communications without a warrant. 

But as digital privacy has been getting headlines, we’ve been mobilizing with our allies. In Congress, Representatives Kevin Yoder (R-KS), Tom Graves (R-GA), and Jared Polis (D-CO) have introduced bipartisan legislation called the Email Privacy Act to update ECPA and restore the full protections of the Fourth Amendment to our digital communications. 

The bill just gained its 181st co-sponsor in the House of Representatives, and our lobbyists in Washington say that our best shot at ensuring this bill gets by opponents in the House is if we can push that number to 218. 

With the disclosures by Edward Snowden of the NSA’s massive surveillance dragnet, the country’s attention has rightfully turned to protecting our private information. 

We’ve seen a lot of momentum behind reforming our out-of-date protections for digital privacy. The Email Privacy Act would take a tremendous leap forward and prevent local and federal law enforcement from using a nearly 30-year-old law to circumvent the Fourth Amendment. 

Thanks for taking action,
Anthony for ACLU Action

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