The group is seeking reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which was passed in 1986. DDP are arguing that the changes in electronic communications and commerce have made the current legal framework too complex and state that it is holding back e-commerce.
"The federal law protecting Internet and telephone users' privacy was written nearly 25 years ago, which is eons ago in 'Internet time,'" said Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston.
"When it comes to privacy, EFF has had its disagreements with fellow Digital Due Process members such as Google and AT&T. But this diverse coalition of privacy advocates and Internet companies agree on at least one thing: the current electronic privacy laws are woefully outdated and must be updated to provide clear privacy protections that reflect the always-on, location-enabled, Web 2.0 world of the 21st century."
The DDP is aiming to change the law in four key areas. Firstly, the law needs to require law enforcement to get a search warrant before being able to get copies of any online information, and secondly any location information from mobile internet use.
Police must also demonstrate that there is a pressing need for an individual piece of data to be accessed and finally bulk data requests need to be regulated so that law enforcement cannot simply get a copy of all data.
"Citizens need government action to ensure that as more information moves from the desktop to the cloud, the country retains the traditional balance of privacy vis-à-vis the state," said Mike Hintze, associate general counsel for Microsoft.
"Many Americans take for granted the protections of the Bill of Rights that prevent the government from coming into people's homes without a valid search warrant. The rise of cloud computing should not diminish these privacy safeguards."
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