It's the part of the Constitution that keeps the government from invading your privacy. If the police or the IRS wants to search your home or postal mail, they need a good reason, and a warrant from a judge.
Under a law passed in 1986 known as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, or ECPA, the government claims it doesn't need a warrant to search stuff you store online, including email and documents in the cloud. This violates our Fourth Amendment rights.
Every day we read about troubling new government surveillance programs. We're in a critical moment. Luckily, momentum in Congress is building for ECPA reform. Now’s the time to weigh in with Legislators to tell them to end warrantless email snooping.
The government needs a warrant to get our postal mail and files we store in our desks. But ECPA says a warrant isn't required for email or documents in the cloud. As our world becomes increasingly digital, our privacy rights shouldn't vanish. The law needs to evolve with technology.
In 1986, people didn't store much online. But now, more and more of our personal information and communications are going online. Almost everyone stores years' worth of email, along with private photos and documents. We have to act now to urge Congress to protect this information, or government agents will have access to our private communications without a warrant.
Privacy means we can be ourselves and express ideas without fear of being unjustly punished or discriminated against. It also means we can entrust our private information to companies without fear of undue government surveillance. But unless we update the law, our digital privacy will never be guaranteed. The time is now: Tell Congress to update ECPA.