ECPA Reforms Long Overdue to Safeguard Privacy and Fourth Amendment Protections

April 13, 2016

WASHINGTON—The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a technology policy think tank, today released the following statement from Daniel Castro, ITIF vice president, regarding the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s markup of the Email Privacy Act:

The Email Privacy Act would eliminate a number of inconsistencies in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) that allow law enforcement to obtain certain private emails, photos, and other data without a warrant. Importantly, the revisions would make clear that emails, even if they have been opened or stored on a server for more than 180 days, are still subject to Fourth Amendment protections.

This legislation is a long overdue remedy to the loopholes in ECPA that treat data stored in the cloud differently than data stored on a local computer. Americans expect that their data will receive Fourth Amendment protections regardless of the means used to store it, and this legislation will help bridge that divide.

We are pleased that Chairman Goodlatte and the members of the House Judiciary Committee are taking these bipartisan steps to safeguard the privacy and Fourth Amendment protections of Americans without compromising law enforcement’s ability to prosecute and solve crimes.

ITIF joined other organizations to urge support for the Email Privacy Act.