Today is Data Privacy Day—a day dedicated to prompting discussions around the globe surrounding privacy and charting a path forward to address some of the challenges that can impact individuals and their privacy. All participants in the data ecosystem have privacy responsibilities. In the United States, both the government and the commercial sector are subject to a robust framework designed to provide individuals with important privacy protections.
On this Data Privacy Day, ITI is looking to Congress to pass two much-needed reforms to advance individual privacy.
First, we urge Congress to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Last week, ITI joined a wide range of stakeholders in asking lawmakers to act quickly to reform this outdated law by requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant to gain access to online communications. When ECPA was passed in 1986, Congress didn’t envision a connected world where people’s electronic communications like email would go online beyond their hard drives. There is strong bipartisan support for ECPA reform and there is no reason for delaying updating this law to ensure that online user communications have important privacy protections. Updating ECPA would also ensure that all communications are equally protected—whether they are communicating online or offline, it shouldn’t matter.
Second, we ask that Congress extend certain protections U.S. citizens have in the Privacy Act of 1974 to citizens of other nations. We ask lawmakers to put all individuals on equal footing, and enable all consumers—not just U.S. citizens—to seek redress in U.S. courts for violations relating to their information. All individuals should be afforded this same right under the Privacy Act—nationality shouldn’t matter.
Data Privacy Day is an important reminder that the tech sector and consumers are looking to Congress to chart a path forward and implement these two important priorities.