OTI Applauds Historic Vote in House Approving Email Privacy Act and Looks to the Senate

Press Release
April 27, 2016

Today, after many years of advocacy, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act. This amends the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 to require law enforcement to get a search warrant based on probable cause before demanding the content of data stored online with third parties such as email providers, social networks and cloud storage services. This change would bring the law into line with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment and the modern privacy expectations of people who increasingly store private communications, documents and pictures in the Internet ‘cloud’. New America’s Open Technology Institute supports the Email Privacy Act, celebrates its passage in the House, and calls on the Senate to follow suit to make this privacy-protecting bill into law.

The following can be attributed to Ross Schulman, Senior Counsel at New America’s Open Technology Institute:

“With each passing landmark vote, long overdue reform of the badly outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act gets closer. This bill is not perfect, and removes a few important protections from the version that we originally supported, but it is still a great advancement for Americans’ privacy. OTI and its staff have been working for years with other groups to make this law a reality, and so we thank the House of Representatives and the sponsors of this bill who fought so hard to see it passed, and we call on the leadership in the Senate to finally pass this commonsense bill into law.”

The following can be attributed to Kevin Bankston, Director of New America’s Open Technology Institute:

“Over six years ago a coalition of privacy organizations and companies joined together to push Congress to act on a simple principle: the data we store in the cloud should be protected against government seizure just as strongly as our physical letters and files are. Today, with this historic vote in the House of Representatives after years of wrongheaded obstruction from the government, we are finally and firmly on the path to real Internet privacy reform in the foreseeable future. I and OTI are proud to have been a part of the process that has brought us this far, and we urge that our allies in the Senate to act as quickly as possible so that we can build on this hard-fought win. The American people have already waited far too long for a law that will strongly protect the privacy of their digital lives.”