May 25, 2016

WASHINGTON – Today the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the global voice of the tech sector, urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to adopt the Email Privacy Act as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month with rarely seen unanimous support in a vote of 419-0. The legislation, deemed the ‘most popular bill in Congress,’ would update the antiquated 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) by requiring a warrant for government access to Americans’ private electronic communications such as email.

“It’s difficult to find common ground on anything in Washington today, and yet the House unanimously agreed that Americans’ emails, texts, photos, and other electronic communications deserve warrant protections just like the papers and effects in your home,” said ITI Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Andy Halataei. “The Email Privacy Act as amended by the House Judiciary Committee hits the sweet spot for what protections Republicans and Democrats agree these communications deserve. As the Senate Judiciary Committee begins their work tomorrow, we urge Senators to avoid harmful amendments that will upset the delicate balance achieved during the House process and could prevent the bill from reaching the president’s desk.”

ITI was part of a broad coalition of 68 technology trade groups, companies, and civil societies that sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee leadership urging them to approve the House passed Email Privacy Act. The letter noted that the Email Privacy Act enshrines into law Fourth Amendment protections that the federal circuit courts have previously articulated, including a warrant requirement for law enforcement to access content with limited exceptions. Reforming ECPA, which currently permits email communications to be obtained without a warrant after 180 days, has been a long time ITI legislative priority.

# # #

Public Policy Tags: Data & Privacy