Writing on The Verge, Carl Franzen reports that Google’s legal director, Richard Salgado, will testify in front of a subcommittee in the House of Representatives. Salgado will argue for a legislative update on the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).
The subcommittee’s meeting subject: “Lawful access to stored content,” will deal with our society’s mismatch between new information technology and outdated legal paradigms.
Other companies and privacy advocates have spent years calling for updates to ECPA. The law currently gives government agencies and law enforcement organizations the ability to request all user email older than 180 days with just a subpoena, while access to newer email requires a stricter search warrant. The law has also been used to enable the government to request other cloud-based user information and even mobile device location information. But Google and those calling for reform want to see search warrants required to access all stored web user info and emails, regardless of their freshness or whether users have opened them.