April 26, 2016

WASHINGTON – Today the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the global voice for the technology sector, voiced its strong support for the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699), on which the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on April 27, 2016. In a letter to members of Congress, ITI emphasized the importance of the popular bipartisan legislation supported by 315 lawmakers, which would reform the 30-year-old Email Communications Privacy Act by requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant to access user content, giving emails “the same Constitutional protections granted to the papers and effects we keep in our homes.”

ITI scores votes that are key priorities for the technology sector. The following is text of the letter sent to senators announcing the tech organization’s intention to key vote the legislation:

April 26, 2016

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House
US House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Democratic Leader
US House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Re: H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act

Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi:

On behalf of the over 60 members of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), I write to express our strong support for H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act. Given the importance of this measure to the high-tech community, we will consider scoring votes in support of final passage of the Email Privacy Act in our 114th Congressional Voting Guide.

Since the enactment of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) in 1986, the technological functions of email have changed tremendously, new forms of electronic communications have been introduced, and all forms of electronic communications have become deeply ingrained in our everyday lives. Thirty years ago most Americans could not envision a connected world where their email would be stored anywhere but the end point of their hard drives. Today, electronic communications – which often contain the most sensitive details about our lives – are largely stored in the cloud. Rather than printing this content to store in our filing cabinet, we save it to folders in the cloud. Under the 30-year-old ECPA, however, electronic communications older than 180 days do not enjoy the same Constitutional protections granted to the papers and effects we keep in our homes.

The Email Privacy Act would align the analog and digital worlds by requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant to access online user content, regardless of the age of that content, just as they would be required to do to access the contents of a desk drawer in your home. In doing so, H.R. 699 provides much needed reforms to the antiquated ECPA to reflect both the way we utilize email and the expectations of privacy we have in that email today. The bill also unites 315 Members of Congress on a single policy and is strongly supported by ITI member companies.

We urge you to support the Email Privacy Act when it comes to the House floor for a vote tomorrow.

Sincerely,
Dean Garfield
President and CEO

cc: Members of the House of Representatives

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Public Policy Tags: Data & Privacy