In an opinion column for InformationWeek, Joe Rubin, acting head of Federal Government Affairs for the technology trade association TechAmerica, writes about the need for major updates to electronic privacy laws:
Last month’s release of Google’s Transparency Report detailing government and court requests for user data highlights a growing challenge to service providers like Google and other technology companies: How to meet the skyrocketing number of requests from government authorities for data while working under murky and unclear guidelines.
The report reveals that demands by US law enforcement agencies for user account data from Google rose 30% in the last six months. A significant percentage of these demands come from civil regulatory agencies who want access to users’ email and other stored documents from online providers — using subpoenas they issue themselves, with no judicial or other third-party review. [...]
TechAmerica, like the rest of the technology community, consumer groups, privacy advocates, and others, are supporting legislation that would ensure that government agencies should be able to access these files only with a warrant issued by a judge. Read more »