Bergman Votes to Protect Digital Privacy
WASHINGTON – Congressman Jack Bergman (MI-1) made the following statement after supporting House passage of the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 387), legislation that would require the government to obtain a probable cause criminal warrant to access electronic communications and online content stored in the cloud.
“This legislation represents the first major update to our digital privacy laws in more than 30 years. Technology gives us the opportunity to improve our economy, expand industry, and connect with each other in new and innovative ways, but that shouldn’t come at the cost of compromised privacy. The way we share and store information has evolved, and now the way that we protect that information has to evolve. Electronic communications deserve the same protection under the 4th Amendment as on-paper or in-person communications. In this digital age, the Email Privacy Act sets that standard.”
The Email Privacy Act updates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to require law enforcement agencies to establish probable cause before gaining access to electronic communications stored by companies like Google, Yahoo, and Dropbox. As it stands, agencies are able to gain access to emails and other digital files that are more than 90 days old by issuing subpoenas to technology companies (a low threshold). H.R. 387 would require law enforcement officers to secure judge-issued warrants before gaining access to digital information stored in the cloud.
H.R. 387 passed the House by voice vote.