A Push for Support for Online Privacy Reform

By Digital 4th Coalition, Special for USDR.

Following the one year anniversary of the Snowden leaks and revelations of the NSA snooping online, the Digital 4th coalition unveiled poll results showing overwhelming support for strengthening privacy rights online. Well over 80% of voters in Los Angeles–84%–support updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), an outdated federal law that sets standards for government access to email and online communications. Vox Populi Polling surveyed 398 active voters in Los Angeles with a margin of error at +/- 4.9%, which also found that the overwhelming majority of those surveyed were more likely to vote for a candidate who supports ECPA reform.

ECPA was enacted into law in 1986, long before most Americans had email. As written, the law grants the government unwarranted access to Americans’ private emails, photos, documents and even social media stored for more than 180 days. Reforming this antiquated law is necessary and long overdue, a sentiment the majority of voters support.

“There is a rare, overwhelming and incredibly diverse consensus among voters that ECPA needs to be updated. These levels of support are nearly unheard of in politics today. And what may be even more remarkable than the consensus is the consistency of this support regardless of gender, age, race or party affiliation. All candidates should note that this issue carries power whether they are involved in general election races or primary campaigns,” said Brent Seaborn of Vox Populi Polling.

“Updating ECPA is a unique issue that has brought together Republicans, Democrats and Independents. At this time of heightened concern about privacy, Congress has an opportunity to demonstrate to Americans that it cares about their privacy. Legislation is pending in the House and Senate. We all agree that the law limiting government surveillance is woefully outdated and needs to be modernized for the 21st century. Now is the time for Congress to act,” said Jim Dempsey, Vice President for Public Policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology, a member of the Digital 4th coalition.

Other notable numbers from the poll:

  • 72% believe online privacy is increasingly important in the wake of last year’s NSA revelations
  • 70% believe it is either very or extremely important that there be limits on how government agencies find out about what individuals say privately online
  • 61% voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports updating ECPA

To read a memo on the full polling results, click here.

To speak with a member from the Digital 4th Coalition to discuss ECPA reform, please contact Kara Carter: (703) 535-3390 or kcarter@blackrockgrp.com.

Digital 4th is a coalition that provides resources and information relating to ECPA reform legislation as it unfolds in Congress. For more information, please visit digital4th.org.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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