PublishedOctober 18, 2011

CCIA Applauds Event Highlighting Outdated Privacy Rules

A bipartisan group of nonprofit privacy advocates is hosting a retro tech fair and press conference today. The goal is to highlight for Congress the need to reform the nation’s surveillance laws – which are outdated in the digital age.

Modern technology exposes Americans’ lives to law enforcement and governmental prying without adequate protections. Emails, location information, and personal documents are all stored today where government can access them without the judicial oversight associated with a warrant. Cloud computing will bring great benefits in portability and efficiency, but it must be protected from overreach by law enforcement.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association, which is a member of the Digital Due Process Coalition, applauds Senator Kirk and Senator Wyden for joining together with a bipartisan group of members of Congress to seek to protect Americans’ location information by requiring government agencies to obtain a warrant before collecting that information. This bill would importantly protect both past and future location information equally, and would clarify what has been an area without substantive legal oversight.

Location information can reveal much about a person’s life, including medical visits, political leanings, and intimate social and religious affiliations. This type of information deserves the highest protection the law can offer.

The following statement can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO, Ed Black:

“More and more information about Americans is available online. Unfortunately, the growth of new technology has also given law enforcement unprecedented powers to track the lives of ordinary citizens and read their documents without the judicial oversight provided by a warrant. We should be sure that Americans’ personal information is given the highest protection, and a warrant is the only way to do that.”

“Location information is one of several important areas in which the Electronic Communications Privacy Act is showing its age. Mass surveillance of the kind made possible by cell phones and GPS devices could not have been dreamed of in 1986, and these privacy concerns were not addressed in ECPA. It is past time for Congress to take up ECPA reform. That’s why we’re encouraged to see Senator Kirk and Senator Wyden working together to address the important issue of location privacy.”

“We encourage Congress to continue the work that Senators Wyden and Kirk have begun here and to bring much needed reform to ECPA as a whole.”

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