Celebrating Constitution Day the advocacy way

 “Dear Congressional Leaders —

We write to urge you to bring to the floor S. 607 and H.R. 1852, the bipartisan Leahy-Lee and Yoder-Polis bills updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Updating ECPA would respond to the deeply held concerns of Americans about their privacy. S. 607 and H.R. 1852 would make it clear that the warrant standard of the U.S. Constitution applies to private digital information just as it applies to physical property….”

… So said ALA today and more than 70 other civil liberties organizations, major technology companies and trade associations — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — in a strong joint letter to the leaders of the House and Senate calling for the soonest possible vote on bills pending in each chamber (S. 607 and H.R. 1852) to update the woefully outdated and inadequate Electronic Communications Privacy Act.  To reach every Member of Congress and their staffs, the letter also was published as a full page advertisement in Roll Call, a principal Capitol Hill newspaper widely read inside the Beltway and well beyond.

When last discussed in DD in mid-June, H.R. 1852 (the Email Privacy Act) had been cosponsored by a majority of all Members of the House.  Today, 265 members have signed on but the bill still awaits action in Committee.  With literally two work days remaining before the House and Senate recess for the November election, ALA and scores of its coalition partners wanted to remind all Members that these bills deserve a vote immediately after Congress returns in November.

Add your voice to that call too as Election 2014 heats up where you live!  Attend a “Town Hall” meeting, call in to a talk radio show featuring a campaigning Congressperson, or simply call their local office and demand that Congress protect your emails, photos, texts, tweets and anything else stored in the “cloud” by voting on and passing S. 607 and H.R. 1852.  Politics doesn’t get any more local and personal than the privacy of your electronic communications, which authorities don’t now need a warrant to pore over if they’re more than six months old.

Tell your Congressional Representative and Senators to update ECPA by passing S. 607 and H.R. 1852 as soon as they get back to Washington.

About Adam Eisgrau

Adam Eisgrau is a former managing director of the Office of Government Relations.

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