Digital Due Process Member in Congressional Hearing on ECPA

I wrote about the Digital Due Process coalition a little over a month ago. Google has a post explaining that the coalition expects to participate in hearings before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.

Although the Electronic Communications Privacy Act covers issues that are distinct from the two recent privacy bills put forward, it still falls under the general bailiwick of privacy. As such, it feels like there is a ground swell in the past few weeks aimed at pressuring Congress to build some sort of more modern privacy baseline, even multiple baselines for different purposes.

The stance of the Digital Due Process coalition in many ways neatly encapsulates the main concern for online privacy. Most citizens do not own and operate their own servers. Whether they are offering up personal data in exchange for some additional value or merely storing personal data as a consequence of using basic information serves like email and web site publishing, none of the laws on the books adequately address the shift in norms in this post-net world.

The best technical measures, like personal encryption or machine mediated trust systems, is all for naught until we can get some basic rights to online privacy clearly and solidly codified. I am cautiously optimistic that one of these fronts will gain a new toehold from which we can breath a sigh of relief before building better case law, collecting info on the consequences, and making renewed push for more privacy protections for our increasingly online lives.

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