U.S. Needs Strong Privacy Protections for Digital Communications
The government claims, for example, that ECPA allows it to access any email that has been opened and is stored with a Web-based email service—like Hotmail or Gmail—without obtaining a warrant from a judge based on probable cause. The consequences of the United States’ failure to more fully apply its Constitutional protections to 21st century technology could have implications beyond its borders.
One of the most cherished rights in the United States is the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable government searches, which has long protected the privacy of Americans’ homes and communications. But as technology has rapidly advanced, this right—long a crown jewel of U.S. civil liberties—has not been fully applied to protect digital communications.