WASHINGTON (Jan. 9, 2017) – The R Street Institute welcomes today’s introduction by Reps. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., of legislation to update and modernize the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986.
The Email Privacy Act would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant to access citizens’ online messages and other electronic content during a criminal investigation. An earlier version of the legislation garnered 315 cosponsors in the 114th Congress and passed the U.S. House in 2016 with unanimous support.
“This legislation represents a balanced and bipartisan approach to restore the privacy and Fourth Amendment protections that millions of Americans expect to enjoy in their email and other forms of online communication,” R Street Policy Analyst Nathan Leamer said.
The measure, whose language is identical to the 2016 measure, enjoys broad support from both privacy advocates and the U.S. technology industry. It is expected to be referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
“Republican leadership would be wise to recognize this bill’s popularity and importance,” Leamer said. “In a climate in which partisan stalemate is the norm, it is encouraging to see an opportunity for real bipartisan policy solutions.”