The New York Times reports on a new coalition — Digital Due Process — advocating stronger privacy laws, including updating and strengthening the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. (One of the groups in the coalition, the Center for Democracy and Technology, has a blog post on the coalition.)
The group, calling itself the Digital Due Process coalition, said it wanted to ensure that as millions of people moved private documents from their filing cabinets and personal computers to the Web, those documents remained protected from easy access by law enforcement and other government authorities.
The coalition, which includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology, wants law enforcement agencies to use a search warrant approved by a judge or a magistrate rather than rely on a simple subpoena from a prosecutor to obtain a citizen’s online data.
The group also said that it wanted to safeguard location-based information collected by cellphone companies and applications providers.
Members of the group said that they would lobby Congress for an update to the current law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which was written in 1986, nearly a decade before Internet use became mainstream. […]
Members of the coalition acknowledged they would probably face resistance. This year, Justice Department lawyers argued in court that cellphone users had given up the expectation of privacy about their location by voluntarily giving that information to carriers. The coalition said it expected a long debate before Congress agrees to change the law. […]
The coalition said that the new principles would not affect the access of private digital information for national security purposes. And they would not affect the use of personal information for commercial purposes, like marketing, a mounting source of concern among users.