Access to customer information from Internet infrastructure providers should follow due process of law.
In some instances, law enforcement agencies have a legitimate need to access personal online data—but government access to data must be preceded by due process procedures set out in the 4th Amendment in regards to search and seizure.
United States law is clear on the privacy of phone calls and other non-digital communications: government officials and agencies need a search warrant based on probable cause to gain access. However, such protections don’t extend to email.
A warrant is needed for messages located on the computer of a sender or receiver, but messages older than 180 days can be obtained from the servers of Internet infrastructure providers and other third parties with only a subpoena or court order. A court order can be based on a standard lower than probable cause, and many agencies can issue themselves a subpoena without an outside judge.
Recent Updates On Privacy
Gandi’s Advocacy for Innovators in US Congress
The following is a guest post from Gandi’s COO Thomas Stocking about Internet Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill and is cross-posted with permission from Gandi Bar. This week we are heading to the US Capitol, braving the chilly weather and organized chaos we call the US Congress to talk to our representatives. After what happened […]
ECPA Reform: Taking it to the States
The i2Coalition believes that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) must be reformed to better reflect the evolution of the Internet. Since ECPA was originally enacted in 1986, technology has made significant advancements, yet the statute remains largely unchanged. The most pressing need is to enact a warrant requirement for government searches of electronic communications, which would protect […]
Senate Committee Takes Positive Action on ECPA
The i2Coalition applauds the Senate Judiciary Committee for recommending amendments to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) that would require law enforcement to obtain warrants prior to searching email and other electronic communications. One of our board members, Richard Feller of Hedgehog Hosting, attended the markup on behalf of the i2Coalition and has a good […]
Statement on Protecting Internet Privacy and Due Process
On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider H.R. 2471 – an amendment to the current Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Enacted in 1986, ECPA specified standards for law enforcement agencies access to electronic communications and associated data, affording important privacy protections to subscribers of emerging wireless and Internet technologies. Technology has advanced dramatically since […]
Election Day 2012 and the Internet
The ballots have finally been cast and the results are tabulated. President Obama will serve another term with a Democratic majority in the Senate and Republican majority in the House. With the political landscape set for at least the next two years until mid-term elections, it’s now time to focus on important public policy issues […]
Hosting Industry Has Chance to Help Shape Policy
I’ve been the lead administrator on WebHostingTalk.com for several years now. As such, I’m often approached with “great ideas.” Ideas generally revolve around new and improved ways of hosting, new tools for hosters, and ways WHT should regulate the industry. I remember roughly 6 years ago when someone approached me about “starting an organization to […]