Google and eBay call for new online privacy law

Google wants to see a new online privacy law in the US
Google wants to see a new online privacy law in the US

US tech firms including Google and eBay are calling for a complete overhaul of online privacy laws in the US.

The group is claiming that the government has too much access to private online data.

Google, eBay and other companies have launched the Digital Due Process coalition, aiming to update the 1986 privacy act, which was passed before most of us had ever heard of the internet or the world wide web.

Is the ECPA out of date?

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986 needs updating, argues the coalition, so that police and government agencies would be required to have warrants before obtaining private e-mails and text messages.

"It is not surprising that a law written in 1986 didn't foresee the privacy protections we need some 25 years later," says Richard Salgado, Google's senior counsel for law enforcement and information security.

The coalition has declared that the ECPA is "a patchwork of confusing standards that have been interpreted inconsistently by the courts".

The coalition recommends that ISPs and mobile carriers should have greater rights before being forced to hand over customer's information to police and government agencies.

"The law needs to be clear that the same standard applies to email and documents stored with a service provider, while at the same time be flexible enough to meet law enforcement needs," said Jim Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology.

You can read all about Google's stance on the updates it wants to see to the ECPA over on its blog and more about the proposal at the coalition website.

"In the coming months, we'll meet with lawmakers, law enforcement officials and others to help build support for modernizing the law," notes Google's Richard Salgado.

Via Official Google Blog and BBC

Adam Hartley