Why Congress must update USA’s definition of Internet privacy

There are several changes that the new US administration has been trying to push, but amidst this seemingly wasteful effort, there is one particular issue that truly requires Congressional action: making sure the US has an up-to-date, 21st-century-ready understanding of what law enforcement should look like regarding Internet data. That’s why several tech-related groups like ACT the App Association, the Software Alliance, the Internet Association, and the US Chamber of Commerce have expressed their support for continued conversation around the topic in an open letter.

The US does have the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which was enacted more than 30 years ago when the Internet as we know it today did not exist.

As outlined in the letter, the US does currently have the Electronic Communications Privacy Act(ECPA), which was enacted more than 30 years ago when the Internet as we know it today did not exist. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently ruled that the ECPA does not authorize US law enforcement to obtain a warrant for certain communications content stored overseas by a US company. In other words, current Internet- and data privacy-related laws in the US put US tech giants like Apple or Microsoft as well as small businesses in a difficult position.

According to these groups, this outdated law could raise very serious problems:

Putting U.S. citizens and U.S. companies at risk by encouraging reciprocal action by foreign governments;

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