A Republican Senate memo on ECPA reform has leaked. The memo, dated September 17 (before the Senate hearing) is quite revealing, referring to “so-called privacy advocates such as the ACLU” and suggesting that:
During the second panel, your Member may want to direct your questions to the minority witness, focusing on the issue of the ways in which the changes proposed by the ACLU would negatively impact law enforcement and indirectly benefit child pornographers and others who use the internet as a means of committing serious crimes.
Read the whole memo. Really. It shows how the Republicans want to portray those seeking meaningful updating and reform as interfering with law enforcement’s ability to pursue child pornographers:
Impact on child exploitation cases. Although there is no data collected on this subject, anecdotally, it is the experience of the former federal prosecutors on Committee staff that the largest group of cases, by far, where ECPA authority is used is in child exploitation investigations and prosecutions.If Congress makes follows Digital Due Process’s recommendations, the largest impact of such changes might be to protect those who harm children behind a wall of “privacy protections” (i.e., these changes will make it more difficult and time-consuming for law enforcement to use ECPA to bring these offenders to justice)
They have no data. They have no evidence that the changes would make it more difficult. Law enforcement witnesses agreed with pro-reform witnesses that the current situation is confusing and needs clarification, and yet this is what the Republicans send out?
Update: Kashmir Hill also discusses the leaked memo on Forbes.