We all like our privacy and the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees it. However it’s not hard to see that the world around us is evolving. Technology gives us the opportunity to better ourselves and the communities in which we live. It helps us to connect with friends and family and do business at speeds we could never before imagine. But these developments shouldn’t come at the cost of security or privacy.
Right now, law enforcement agencies can gain access to emails and other digital files more than 90 days old by issuing subpoenas to technology companies—a very low standard for gaining access to information. This is a direct assault on your right to privacy.
This week, the House passed the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 387), a bill that would revise the Electron Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to require law enforcement agencies to obtain judge-issued search warrants before gaining access to personal messages and files stored by companies like Google, Yahoo, and Dropbox. This bill would represent a major update to our outdated digital privacy and I supported its passage in the House.
The choice between privacy and technology is a false one. The Fourth Amendment guarantees privacy and designates it as a fundamental liberty, and in this new digital age we need to do all we can to protect it.
I will keep you updated as this bill makes its way to the Senate and through the legislative process.