Gabbard Backed Bill to Strengthen Online Privacy Passes House

February 6, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), a founding member of the Fourth Amendment Caucus, released the statement below after the Email Privacy Act (H.R.387) unanimously passed the House today. Gabbard is a cosponsor of the legislation. 
“The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was written over 30 years ago, when most Americans didn’t have an email account, let alone a smartphone, cloud storage, social media, or other forms of modern-day technology. The fact that this outdated law still governs our personal data and communication online puts all of us at risk. The Email Privacy Act makes common sense and long overdue updates to the ECPA to protect the constitutional right to privacy of millions of Americans.” 

Background: The ECPA, passed in 1986, currently allows the government to search any email older than 180 days stored on a third-party server, such as Google or Yahoo, without a warrant. The legislation has not been updated since, despite rapid changes in technology over the past three decades. The Email Privacy Act would update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to state that all government agencies must get a warrant to search Americans’ online communications, regardless of when the email was crafted. 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is a founding member of the Fourth Amendment Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers dedicated to protecting against warrantless searches and seizures, close privacy violating surveillance loopholes, and champion reform efforts to protect and restore Fourth Amendment rights. She has introduced legislation in the 113th and 114th Congresses to expand the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) and give the Board greater authorities to carry out its function of balancing the government’s national security and counterterrorism activities with the need to protect the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans.


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