The House voted unanimously, 419-0, on Wednesday to bring the law that protects the privacy of Americans’ emails into the 21st century.
The Email Privacy Act would reform the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act by requiring all federal agencies (with few exceptions) to get a warrant before searching old digital communications stored in the cloud by companies like Google and Facebook.
“In 1986, the assumption was that if you left your email on a server it was abandoned, like trash on a street corner,” said Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., one of the bill’s authors, during a GOP press conference Wednesday morning. He said it “restores the Fourth Amendment, and treats email with the same protections as paper mail.”
Technology companies and privacy advocates alike immediately took to the Twitterverse to celebrate — because the bill would protect innovation in cloud computing just as much as it would protect Fourth Amendment rights.
Now they are urging the Senate to take action.
— ACLU National (@ACLU) April 27, 2016
— Google Public Policy (@googlepubpolicy) April 27, 2016
— Blake Farenthold (@farenthold) April 27, 2016
#ECPA reform just passed the House 419-0. The Senate should take up the Email Privacy Act immediately
— Jake Laperruque (@JakeLaperruque) April 27, 2016
holy shit. 419-0 for ECPA reform. Word up.
— Joseph Lorenzo Hall (@JoeBeOne) April 27, 2016