Congressman Nadler Continues Longstanding Fight on Privacy and Technology by Cosponsoring New Email Privacy Act

Apr 13, 2016 Issues: Civil Liberties, Civil Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet and Democratic cosponsor of the Chairman’s Mark of the Email Privacy Act, praised the bill calling it a “major legislative update to our nation’s privacy laws”.

“I have long called for an update to the laws impacting electronic communications and privacy, and today the House Judiciary Committee will take a major step forward to do just that with the long overdue passage of the Email Privacy Act,” said Congressman Nadler. “With communications technology evolving at an exponential rate, it is imperative that we revise our privacy laws in a corresponding manner. Our nation’s laws must be brought up-to-date with advances in technology to clarify issues of electronic privacy and third-party involvement, which is why the significance of this legislation cannot be overstated. The Email Privacy Act requires the government to obtain a warrant in order to access peoples’ electronic communications from a third-party provider, protecting Americans’ privacy rights while still enabling law enforcement to do its job.”

While Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties from 2007-2010, Congressman Nadler was the first to examine reforms to our nation’s electronic communication and privacy laws, calling multiple hearings on ECPA reform. During the 112th Congress, Rep. Nadler and Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Modernization Act of 2012, which would have required law enforcement to obtain a warrant based on probable cause before searching email. That approach—now embodied in the Yoder-Polis Email Privacy Act—is expected to finally pass the House Judiciary Committee today.

“ECPA was passed in 1986, before email communication was so common or pervasive in our lives, not to mention the countless other functions we rely on daily using the internet and technology.  In an era where government access to peoples’ private information held by third-party providers has become far too easy, Congress is finally taking steps to update our laws to reflect our new understanding of what it means for people to be ‘secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.’  I applaud this landmark legislation and am proud to cosponsor the Chairman’s Mark in what is a critical step forward to ensure that our laws strike the right balance between the interests and needs of law enforcement and the privacy of the American people,” said Rep. Nadler.