Sep 272012
 September 27, 2012  Posted by  Featured News, Laws

Jennifer Martinez reports:

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) on Tuesday unveiled a pair of bills aimed at protecting innovation, digital privacy and freedom of expression online.

Lofgren hopes to get feedback on the two bills in the coming weeks and plans on introducing them during the next session of Congress. With several tech companies headquartered in her district, Lofgren has long advocated for policies that would bolster the tech industry. She hopes her most recent legislation will prevent a sequel to the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

“We need proactive laws designed to preserve an open and truly global Internet from SOPA-like legislation, unduly restrictive treaties and trade agreements, and overbroad government surveillance,” Lofgren said in a statement.

The first bill would update measures in the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act to adapt to the current landscape of new social networking and email services. Lofgren’s bill, called ECPA 2.0, would establish standards that law enforcement would have to follow before collecting information about a person’s location or gaining access to their emails and other online communications.

Read more on The Hill.

Lofgren’s bill is H.R.6529. So far, the bill has no co-sponsors. A fact sheet on the bill summarizes key provisions:

ECPA 2.0 would implement four basic principles, widely supported by major technology companies, public interest groups of diverse political persuasion, legal scholars, and technical experts:

  1. The government should obtain a warrant before compelling a service provider to disclose an individual’s private online communications.
  2. The government should obtain a warrant before it can track the location of an individual’s wireless communication device.
  3. Before it can install a pen register or trap and trace device to capture real time transactional data about when and with whom an individual communicates using digital services (such as email or mobile phone calls), the government should demonstrate to a court that such data is relevant to a criminal investigation.
  4. The government should not use an administrative subpoena to compel service providers to disclose transactional data about multiple unidentified users of digital services (such as a bulk request for the names and addresses of everyone that visited a particular website during a specified time frame). The government may compel this information through a warrant or court order, but subpoenas should specify the individuals about whom the government seeks information.

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