Thursday, September 23, 2010
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) is the law that regulates how government agencies can access a user’s electronic data from an online service provider. Unfortunately, the law was written in 1986 and is woefully out of date for today’s technology -- the provisions of the law no longer match people’s reasonable privacy protections for their digital data.
My colleague Richard Salgado should know. He’s a former Department of Justice lawyer and currently serves as Google’s Senior Counsel for Law Enforcement and Information Security, where he oversees our team that evaluates and responds to law enforcement requests. Today he’ll be testifying about Google’s ongoing efforts to update ECPA for the digital age.
As part of our efforts, earlier this year Google helped launch Digital Due Process, a coalition of tech companies, privacy advocates, and academics dedicated to reforming ECPA. Since our launch, we’ve met with numerous members of Congress, as well as officials from the Department of Justice and several law enforcement agencies. We’ve also expanded our ranks, with more companies and groups from across the political spectrum joining the campaign. Today’s hearing follows similar hearings before other Senate and House committees, and is another sign of the growing momentum of our effort.
As part of Richard’s testimony, he’ll explain that “a large gap has grown between the technological assumptions made in ECPA and the reality of how the Internet works today, leaving us in some circumstances with complex and baffling rules that are both difficult to explain to users and difficult to apply.”
Check out Digital Due Process to learn more about our efforts to ensure our laws reflect the way we live our lives today.