– A coalition of privacy groups, technology firms and academics on Tuesday
petitioned Congress to update electronic privacy law to address advances in
mobile and cloud computing. Members of the Digital Due Process initiative
include tech giants Microsoft (NASD: MSFT), Google (NASD: GOOG), AT&T (NYSE: T) and Intel (NASD: INTC), and varied interest
groups including the ACLU, Americans for Tax Reform, Electronic Frontier
Foundation and Progress and Freedom Foundation. The parties hope to persuade
Congress to update the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which
currently provides more protections to data stored locally than data that is
stored on mobile devices or Web-based servers.
CNET notes that recent cases
have shown law enforcement obtaining mobile location data without needing to
first obtain a warrant.
The Digital Due Process initiative outlined four
principles it believes should apply to government access to data stored by
Internet and telecommunications companies.
The principles state that law enforcement must
obtain a search warrant in order to gain access to a user’s mobile location or
communications "not readily accessible to the public"; that added privacy
protections be afforded before calling records are released; and that subpoenas
for mobile data be limited to a single account or individual.
traditional standard for the government to search your home or office and read
your mail or seize your personal papers is a judicial warrant," said Jim
Dempsey, vice president of public policy at the Center for Democracy and
"The law needs to be clear that the same standard applies to
email and documents stored with a service provider, while at the same time be
flexible enough to meet law enforcement needs."