Reforming the outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) is one of our top policy priorities. The i2Coalition and allies in our industry and in Washington have worked for continuous change. Fortunately, we are now one step closer to needed reform. The Yoder-Polis Email Privacy Act, legislation currently in play to update the antiquated law, recently attained 218 co-sponsors in the United States House of Representatives.
The i2Coalition believes that law enforcement should only be able to access private email through a warrant, just as they must for traditional mail. Legislation to update the ECPA to recognize that principle reached a significant milestone with a majority of the House of Representatives supporting H.R. 1852.
Unchanged since it was enacted in 1986, ECPA created exceptions to the U.S. Constitution’s warrant requirement, making it is possible for law enforcement to potentially access email and online communications without a warrant.
Recognizing that technology has made incredible progress since the 1980’s, Chairman Goodlatte designated updating ECPA as a priority for his committee. With the support of a majority of its members, Congress should now embrace this historic opportunity to bring ECPA into the 21st century, creating a bright-line, warrant-for-content standard.
The i2Coalition calls on Congress to pass, and the President to sign, H.R. 1852 – real ECPA reform that removes the ability to undermine privacy safeguards and constitutional guarantees, ensuring that users’ electronic communications receive the same legal protections as offline communications.