PublishedMarch 30, 2010

CCIA Joins Broad Coalition to Recommend Updating Privacy Laws for Digital Age

Privacy laws need to be updated to accommodate the realities of fast paced technological innovation and digital progress. That’s the message of a broad coalition of consumer groups, companies, and academics who announced a new advocacy group today, called Digital Due Process. The Computer & Communications Industry Association joined with the coalition to issue recommendations on how to update federal laws to clearly define rules for government access to location data, email and private files that are stored remotely.

The coalition’s recommendations focus on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), signed into law in 1986. To set a consistent standard in line with the traditional Fourth Amendment rules for searches and seizures in the offline world, the coalition recommends that the government should get a warrant issued by a judge to read email and private documents and to track a person through his or her cell phone.
“As more information spreads to cell phones and cloud computing, federal laws pertaining to government access are important and timely to reassess,” said CCIA President & CEO Ed Black. “People should have reasonable, base-level protections for similar personal data whether the data is housed in a filing cabinet in their home, shared online or stored in a remote database.”
“Reasonable expectations of privacy are even more critical when competition among network providers is scarce or when the entity with access is the government, with which citizens have no choice but to interact,” added Cathy Sloan, CCIA’s VP of Government Relations. “Internet users can leave a website with one mouse click if they don’t like the privacy policy, but they have little say and often don’t even know when the government or law enforcement is collecting electronic information about them. We hope this coalition will both spur discussion and build consensus on new rules that strike the right balance.”
The coalition’s proposals are detailed at www.digitaldueprocess.org.Google also created this video to help explain ECPA and why it needs updating:

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