The Email Privacy Act is a direct line of defense when protecting Americans’ digital privacy. As the world evolves and more technological innovations are being discovered, it is our duty to keep up by renewing our laws. This bill would protect citizens’ privacy by requiring authorities provide a warrant before they are given access to electronic data stored by technology companies.
The Email Privacy Act modernizes the 1986 Electronic Communications Protect Act (ECPA), which states that you can search digital information without a warrant as long as it is older than 180 days. Not only is this a violation of our Fourth Amendment rights, it is inconsistent with modern technology. This bill was introduced thirty-two years ago in a time where not many people used or even had an email. In 2018, with a vast amount of technological enhancements, it is much easier for data to be stored without the owner’s knowledge. Law enforcement has been able to manipulate ECPA to search and obtain information because of the loopholes caused by the outdated language.
Cloud computing has become a huge industry because of its ability to save businesses and consumers both time and money. By not requiring including cloud data under the 4th Amendment, more businesses will take their business overseas to ensure they are better protected.. European companies will use this to their advantage to draw businesses away from the U.S. This bill will add to the success of the U.S. economy by ensuring that the data for U.S. businesses is safe and protected. By backing this bill it shows that the U.S. is in full support of growth in their industries.
If this bill is not enacted, there will continue to be no protection from unconstitutional search and seizure of our electronic information including emails, text messages, and photos. The Email Privacy Act is necessary and overdue to maintain our 4th Amendment rights win the digital age. This is a very important decision that is vital in preserving the Constitution in a modern world of endless technological capacities that could threaten the freedom of our citizens.
The Email Privacy Act has been passed unanimously by the House multiple times. The latest passage was as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Given the broad, bipartisan support for this legislation, there is no reason the Senate should not include it in its version of the NDAA. Senators need to step up and confront the threats to our Constitution head-on, and passing the Email Privacy Act text is an easy way to start that fight.