Electronic Communications Privacy Act

113th Congress

Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2013 (ECPA) (introduced 3/19/13)

April 22, 2013

The ALA joined with like-minded groups to send a letter (pdf) to the Senate Judiciary Committee asking that support the ECPA Amendments Act, S. 607.

March 19, 2013

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced a bipartisan ECPA reform bill today.

Additional Information

On March 30, 2010, ALA joined with like-minded groups such as the Center for Democracy and Technology and the Electronic Frontier Foundation in a campaign to reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The campaign site is VanishingRights.com.

ECPA was last updated in the mid-1980s and describes the lengths that government may go to in order to access private digital information.  At a time when cloud computing is taking off and more and more of our daily interactions take place in the cloud, clarity of this law is essential.  The government currently claims that our private information that resides in the cloud and the location information that can be accessed via our mobile phones is accessible without a warrant. 

We firmly disagree!  The 4th amendment states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Vanishing Rights is a campaign to help fight for our rights that were guaranteed in the 4th amendment.  Now is the time to update ECPA to ensure that we receive privacy in our electronic communications just as we do for a letter sent via the US Postal Service.