Most of us live under the pretense of a democratic uncensored world. Few people are aware of the scrutiny that we experience in our day to day interactions, whether it be on email or various forms of social media. According to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), law enforcement officials have access to an individual’s personal emails by simply requesting information on personal correspondence from email providers without any warrants.
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy has introduced a legislation to compel law enforcement bodies to produce a warrant in order to access personal emails. If the bill is implemented, censorship of personal correspondences via email, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc., won’t be possible without a legitimate reason. Leahy attempted to introduce a similar bill last year but it fell on deaf ears due to resistance by the Republicans. While Leahy does face resistance from the Republican Party, the Digital Due Process coalition, which includes companies like Google, Facebook, Loopt, AT&T, and Microsoft, is fighting to get the ECPA Act amended.
The Republicans have requested for some time to consider the bill. Leahy plans to bring up the bill next Thursday. Allegedly an outdated policy, the ECPA was drafted during a pre-Internet and telephone era. Its pertinence in today’s generation of smartphones and web communications can be questioned. While the idea of freedom appeals to most, are we really given the opportunity to exercise that freedom?