This is one of the bills to watch this session: the ‘‘Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2011’’.
In his press release announcing the introduction of the bill, the Senator said:
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) Amendments Act will make commonsense changes to existing law to improve privacy protections for consumers’ electronic communications and to clarify the legal standards for the government to obtain this information. The legislation includes enhanced privacy protections for the content of Americans’ email and other electronic communications, which would be subject to a search warrant requirement based on probable cause. The bill also includes new privacy protections for Americans’ location information that is collected, used or stored by service providers, smartphones and other mobile technologies.
“Since the Electronic Communications Privacy Act was first enacted in 1986, ECPA has been one of our nation’s premiere privacy laws,” said Leahy. “But, today, this law is significantly outdated and out-paced by rapid changes in technology and the changing mission of our law enforcement agencies after September 11. Updating this law to reflect the realities of our time is essential to ensuring that our federal privacy laws keep pace with new technologies and the new threats to our security.”
Expect to see a lot of analysis and commentary on this bill once everyone’s had a chance to read it and digest it.