Coalition Aims to Rewrite Online Privacy Law

Could it be that an electronic privacy statute that became law didn’t envision the cloud-computing era and a burgeoning crop of location-based services? Well, of course it couldn’t. But despite the longstanding efforts of many groups to push for an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the 1986 law is still on the books.

But Tuesday saw a new coalition launch that aims to update ECPA, uniting Google, Microsoft, AT&T and a host of other firms and advocacy groups that don’t always see eye to eye. Their mission is to prevail on lawmakers that data stored in the cloud and location-based information demands the same judicial safeguards as records locked in a filing cabinet or stored on a PC in the home.

Datamation has the story on the Digital Due Process Coalition.

The debate over the government’s role in setting restrictions for online behavioral targeting puts a wide gulf between privacy advocates and right-of-center civil libertarian groups. But when it comes to government surveillance, it’s easier to build a bridge.

A broad and diverse coalition of often-feuding advocacy groups and businesses, including Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), on Tuesday launched a campaign to update a more than two-decades-old statute that they say has fallen dangerously out of step with the way people are using the Internet to communicate and share information.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), signed into law in 1986, established safeguards designed to block unauthorized government access to electronic data, but critics have long warned that the law contains significant loopholes that don’t protect the sensitive personal or location-based information people are uploading to Web services.

In the era of cloud computing, when e-mails, photos and other information are stored on far-flung corporate servers, a law that sets the rules for government and law-enforcement access rooted in the earliest days of the Internet has is in sore need of an update, according to the Digital Due Process coalition.

Read the full story at Datamation:

Broad Tech Coalition Calls for Net Privacy Law Overhaul

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