The Hill reports that technology companies including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are pushing for Congress to vote on the E-mail Privacy Act, which would update the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA,” also known as Title 18 § 2511 of the United States Code).
Google, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo and scores of other technology titans are demanding congressional leaders allow a vote on a bill to grant new privacy protections to people’s emails.
The companies want a vote on the Email Privacy Act, a bill that counts more than half of the House as co-sponsors. The bill has yet to move since it was introduced last summer, and a companion measure in the Senate is also awaiting action.
The legislation would update the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which allows police to conduct warrantless searches of people’s emails and other information stored on the “cloud” that are more than 180 days old. Critics on both sides of the aisle say the law is antiquated and undermines people’s privacy. […]
Congressional supporters of the bills have said they have been delayed by lawmakers’ attempts to attach other provisions to the legal update. The Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies have also voiced opposition to the bill because it relies on subpoenas instead of warrants to get information.
Advocates say the legislation is one of the few non-essential bills that could get a vote this year, despite the shortened legislative calendar and the midterm elections in November. […]
The House bill was written by Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and the Senate bill was authored by Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).