None of the authors of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) could have foreseen the technologies of today. The 29-year-old law was enacted a decade before Google and 20 years before the iPhone. However, this law still dictates how our online privacy is regulated.
It’s time for an update to ECPA. Today’s ever evolving technology landscape requires a 21st century law that is in sync with the privacy expectations of Americans living in 2015, not 1986. Updates like requiring law enforcement to get a court order before accessing a smartphone and to get a warrant before mandating disclosure of electronic content more than 180 days-old just make sense. As our use of technology continues to evolve, these changes to modernize this archaic law just make sense.