WASHINGTON – February 3, 2017 – BSA | The Software Alliance urges the House of Representatives to pass the Email Privacy Act of 2017 (H.R. 387), which is scheduled for consideration Monday. This legislation would update the three decades-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to require that law enforcement obtain a warrant before accessing a person’s content stored in the cloud. BSA is encouraged that Congress is moving early in the year on this important privacy issue.
Software companies and civil liberties groups have been working with Congress for years to update ECPA. Last Congress, this legislation, with the same language, passed the House by a vote of 419-0. A companion bill in the Senate had 30 bipartisan sponsors.
Passing the Email Privacy Act would be a positive step toward protecting consumer privacy, and it would allow Congress to turn its attention to other concerns with the law. Chief among those concerns is that ECPA, which was written before the age of the global internet, did not contemplate how data would be stored and accessed around the world. Even with the adoption of the Email Privacy Act, ECPA will need additional reforms to address law enforcement access to data stored overseas.