Mike Masnick writes:
For many, many years, we’ve been talking about the need for ECPA reform. ECPA — the Electronic Communications Privacy Act — is an incredibly outdated piece of legislation from the 1980s that governs law enforcement’s ability to access email and other electronic communications. This was the era before the internet was anywhere close to the mainstream (though it did exist).
Last year we noted that more than half of the House was co-sponsoring a bill put forth by Reps. Kevin Yoder and Jared Polis to reform ECPA in a big way. But even with so many supporting the law, it failed to move. A big hurdle? Both the IRS and SEC (note: not your standard law enforcement agencies) like the fact that they can use ECPA to snoop through electronic communications (without a warrant — which those agencies can’t get on their own anyway).
Yoder and Polis are back again with another attempt, and it’s matched by a similar legislation in the Senate from Senators Patrick Leahy and Mike Lee. To get attention for the bill, Yoder, Polis and some other supporters took to Twitter in a bit of a meme fest, highlighting some historical facts to demonstrate just how long it’s been since ECPA became law.