Outdated Privacy Act Close to Getting an Upgrade
Blog Article Published: 05/12/2016
By Susan Richardson, Manager/Content Strategy, Code42 The outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) may finally get a much-needed upgrade, but the reform can’t come soon enough for Microsoft, other cloud providers and privacy advocates. Here’s what you need to know: The issues: The ECPA was enacted in 1986, as electronic communication started to become more prevalent. The intent was to extend federal restrictions on government wiretaps from telephones to computer communications. But as we created other electronic communication devices and moved content to the cloud, the Act became outdated. The primary gripes are that it:
- Allows government agencies to request emails more than 180 days old with just an administrative subpoena, which the agency itself can issue, vs. having to get a warrant from a judge.
- Doesn’t require notifying affected customers when their data is being requested, giving them a chance to challenge the data demand. In fact, the Act includes a non-disclosure provision that can specifically prohibit providers from notifying customers.
- Require government representatives to get a warrant to access messages older than 180 days from email and cloud providers.
- Allows providers to notify affected customers when their data is being requested, unless the court grants a gag order.