TriggerFinger


House passes email privacy act


TechDirtThe push to reform ECPA -- the Electronic Communications Privacy Act -- have been going on basically as long as this site has been in existence (i.e. nearly 20 years). There are lots of problems with ECPA, but the big one that everyone points to is that it considers any communication that's on a server more than 180 days to be "abandoned" and accessible without a warrant. That perhaps made some amount of sense back in 1986 when the law was written, because everything was client-server and you downloaded your email off the server. But in an age of cloud computing and webmail it makes no sense at all. Still, the IRS and the SEC really, really liked the ability to use ECPA to snoop on people's emails.

In the past few years, Congress has kept supporting reform, but it always dies when some part of the administration complains and tries to block it. And yet, each time it enters Congress, it gets more and more sponsors. And, finally, the full House has voted to pass the Email Privacy Act.

Apparently, the vote was unanimous (with 14 abstentions).

This likely means that some sort of deal has already been struck in the Senate. Before you celebrate, though, that "deal" could very well be that the Senate will gut the bill, or just drop it on the floor, or even that Obama will pocket-veto it on his way out the door. When both parties in Congress are unanimous, it means that we, the people, are the mark.

This entry was published Fri Apr 29 10:48:49 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2016-04-29 10:48:49.0. [Tweet]

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