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  • Cloakroom Confidential: Washington Elites Continue Attacks on Privacy

    Privacy is under attack by many in Washington, DC. They are using the fear of terrorism to attempt to reinstate NSA Spying on Americans and a vastly expanded surveillance state. There are still many in Congress fighting to protect the Bill of Rights and the natural right to privacy.

    Neil Siefring has a smart piece in Townhall.com titled “Updating Privacy Laws Good For Tech, Business and Diplomacy.” Siefring talks about the need to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to protect data in the cloud like your emails and most private documents.

    In the piece he argues that there is a legislative solution that is the following:

    Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) have joined with Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA-10) and Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA-1) to introduce the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad (LEADS) Act. Introduced as S. 512 in the Senate and H.R. 1174 in the House, this legislation would address the challenges poised by a twentieth-century law being applied to a dynamic twenty-first century technology landscape. The LEADS Act accomplishes this by requiring “law enforcement to obtain a warrant under the Electronic Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) to obtain the content of subscriber communications from an electronic communications or cloud computing service,” and it goes on to state that “an ECPA warrant does not compel production of data stored abroad, while providing an exception if the account holder whose content is sought is a ‘U.S. person.’” The legislation would require a warrant for federal law enforcement to pursue an American’s information that is stored on a cloud server overseas. If the information being sought by the federal government isn’t associated with an American, then our government has to work with the foreign government where the server is housed to get the information. There is already a way to facilitate the process of working with foreign governments, know as mutual legal assistance treaty requests, to which the LEADS Act makes improvements.

    Once the fear subsides, privacy advocates can push hard to make sure that the law protects all Americans’ natural right to privacy in the documents and emails in their personal computer.


    Cloakroom Confidential

    Cloakroom Confidential

    Cloakroom Confidential was a longtime Capitol Hill staffer and insider who has contacts in the House and Senate at the highest levels.

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