“There’s a simple reason why the Email Privacy Act is the most sponsored bill in Congress,” Gabe Rottman of the American Civil Liberties Union told Truthdig. “Americans overwhelmingly believe email should be protected by a warrant, just like a phone call or snail-mail letter.”
According to Rottman, who is a legislative counsel and policy adviser at the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, “this bill would make that modest but essential change, and bring our email privacy laws into the age of broadband and cloud computing.”
Without such a change in the ECPA, however, agencies like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the IRS and others can simply obtain data stored in the cloud by sending a company like Google a subpoena demanding access to that data when it is 180 days old or older. Users might not even realize their privacy had been breached, because the government can deal directly with the email service providers. On the other hand, if these agencies want the same data before it is 180 days old, they need to obtain a warrant.