We applaud the passage yesterday of the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699) by the U.S. House of Representatives. The Act passed unanimously – indicating broad support for reform. For the past six years advocates from across the political spectrum have called on Congress to reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, or ECPA. In particular, the i2Coalition advocated for reform of provisions of ECPA allowing warrantless access to data. The warrantless access to data under ECPA is contrary to Federal due process requirements, undermines confidence in the privacy of data, and has not demonstrated any appreciable positive effect on law enforcement activities.
The changes overwhelmingly approved today in the House will better align with the Constitution, and other laws, ways in which law enforcement has access to customer data. By establishing a clear and consistent policy, lawmakers better position American Internet companies to compete in the global marketplace.
i2Coalition Policy and Board Chair David Snead said:
“Reforming ECPA has been a policy priority for the i2Coalition since we were founded. We are grateful to the House for taking leadership on this important issue, and call on the Senate to expeditiously follow in their colleague’s footsteps. The unanimous House vote should send a clear message to the marketplace that Congress is listening to our customer’s demands for a warrant for content.”
The i2Coalition has advocated for ECPA reform since 2014. The broad spectrum of members of the House who supported this bill reflects the consensus among policy makers that the law needed to be updated. In particular, we thank Representatives Goodlatte, Yoder, Polis, Issa and Lofgren for their tremendous support for real ECPA reform. We note that Representatives Issa and Lofgren both mentioned support of ECPA reform when they accepted the i2Coalition’s Champion of Internet Innovation award in 2013 and 2014.