Adobe Public Policy

August 1, 2017 /Privacy

Adobe Applauds Introduction of the ECPA Modernization Act

Posted by Mary Catherine Wirth, Associate General Counsel of Privacy, Trust and Safety

Adobe applauds Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), for introducing the ECPA Modernization Act of 2017, legislation that is essential to ensuring Fourth Amendment privacy and due process protections for communications and content stored online.

This much-needed reform to 1986’s Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) would give content and communications that users store online the same constitutional protections as content or communications stored at home in a desk drawer, as well as impose new protections for geolocation data and limits on metadata collection.  Encouragingly, it would also reform gag order rules and make secrecy around government access to customer data the exception rather than the rule. This will allow companies like Adobe that store communications and content for their customers to be more transparent about government requests for customer information, and ensuring secrecy orders are issued only where, and for the duration, necessary.  While we understand that there are times when government investigations need to remain secret for a particular period of time (such as while an investigation is ongoing), it has become all too common for search warrants to be accompanied by permanent gag orders that would forever bar us from telling our customers about them.  Adobe currently challenges in court  permanent gag orders like these as an unconstitutional prior restraint on our speech to our customer and, if passed, this legislation would free up court and company resources to be better used elsewhere.

Adobe, as a long-time member of the Digital Due Process Coalition, strongly supports this bipartisan legislation.  Customer data stored online deserves the same protections as data stored at home or at work, and full Fourth Amendment protections are essential for consumers and businesses to trust that their information stored with cloud service providers is safe.  We urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to take swift action and approve the bill so that the full chamber can vote on this important measure.

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