WASHINGTON – Today technology industry trade group ITI, the global voice of the tech sector, issued the following statement from Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Andy Halataei welcoming the introduction of the “ECPA Modernization Act of 2017” by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). The bipartisan legislation reforms the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) by requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant to access user content, including emails and text messages:
“ECPA was enacted long before many of us knew what email was, let alone used it, and over 30 years later it is woefully out of step with our everyday world of communicating through connected devices and cloud computing,” Halataei said. “Electronic communications contain the most sensitive details about our lives, but unlike a filing cabinet or desk drawer in our homes, the government can access emails and other online content without a warrant after 180 days. Like ECPA reforms unanimously passed by the House earlier this year, Sens. Lee and Leahy’s bill reflects how we use cloud services to communicate by granting our electronic communications the same Constitutional protections enjoyed by the papers and effects we keep in our homes.”
ITI and the tech industry have vigorously advocated for ECPA reform as a top legislative priority. Most recently, ITI announced that it would Key Vote a similar ECPA reform bill introduced and passed in the House of Representatives in February. Absent these needed reforms, the government can conduct warrantless searches without a judge’s approval to access emails, other electronic communications, or online content stored in the cloud or on third-party servers if they are more than 180 days old.
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