Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Congress doing the right thing on privacy

This is a good start:
A bill aimed at modernizing the United States's aging law covering law enforcement access to emails and other stored files passed the House Monday night. 
The current law, known as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, allows law enforcement to access any stored files without a warrant if such material is left on a third-party server for more than 180 days. But that law was passed in 1986 — three years before the invention of the internet — when computer owners did not have the same systems as modern users, such as cloud hosting, webmail and online photo galleries.
The Email Privacy Act, which passed under suspension of the rules Monday, alters the previous rule to universally require warrants for such information.
It's nice to see strong bi-partisan support for the 4th Amendment.  And there's more where that came from:
The House Judiciary Committee wants to help police track terrorists and criminals who hide using encrypted communication tools this Congress, but undermining encryption is a nonstarter, Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said Wednesday.
bipartisan joint report from the Judiciary and Energy and Commerce committees in December urged against any legislative effort to weaken the encryption that protects internet activity from prying eyes but endorsed various workarounds to help the FBI and police officers track terrorists and criminals.
It's a twofer of bi-partisan security sanity from the House of Representatives!  More, please.


Old NFO said...

Finally! One that went our way!!!

matism said...

Maybe, Old NFO. But wanna bet on how that law will be interpreted by such fine "jurists" as Judge Robart and "Justices" Ginsberg, Kagan, and Sotomayor?

Rick C said...

"three years before the invention of the internet".

LOL. Fake news.

SiGraybeard said...

This is incredibly ironic. Back in '86, I was adamantly against the ECPA because of the effects on commercial radio design. It mandated that receivers be unable to receiver cellular radio signals, which were open FM at the time, and those laws still affect the design of every consumer radio sold in the US, even though the laws are quite obsolete. When cellular services went over to digital modes, they scrambled their signals and took them out of the realm of casual overhearing.

With typical bureaucratic logic, ECPA mandated that if two people wanted to have a private conversation that the answer isn't that they be careful, it's that you're to be punished for listening. Since their radio signals are passing through your house, your body and everything, it's as if they came into your living room to talk and you have to avoid hearing them.

And now, 31 years later, it might become worthwhile.