WASHINGTON – The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the global voice of the tech sector, issued a statement from President and CEO Dean Garfield calling on the Senate to take up legislation passed by the House of Representatives today to extend Constitutional privacy rights to Americans’ emails. Dubbed ‘the most popular bill in Congress’ because of its strong bipartisan support, the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699) approved unanimously by lawmakers updates the 30-year-old Electronic Privacy Communications Act (ECPA) to require law enforcement to obtain a warrant to access user content such as emails.
“Until the Senate acts to pass ECPA reform, the constitutional protections on your junk drawer at home are better than what you have on your email,” Garfield said. “When Congress passed ECPA in 1986, they couldn’t envision email being saved anywhere other than a hard drive or filing cabinet, let alone the other types of electronic communications we use today. Today, we save these communications - which often contain the most sensitive details about our lives - in the cloud for months or years, and we should be able to expect the same level of protection for those communications as we do for papers in a filing cabinet.”
ECPA reform has been a top priority for the tech sector, and ITI wrote earlier this week to lawmakers to let them know they would consider their support for the Email Privacy Act a key vote for the group. The legislation would correct a flaw in the current ECPA law where electronic communications older than 180 days do not enjoy Constitutional protections granted to the papers and effects.
“We thank the 315 lawmakers in the House who supported ECPA reform and made this possible,” Garfield said. “With this momentum Senator Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, could bring the bill before his committee and create an opportunity for the Senate to vote to give Americans an early 4th of July gift.”