Dogtown Media Champions Email Privacy Act at AppCon ’17

April 25, 2017 - 2 minutes read

It’s been a whirlwind day on Capitol Hill as Dogtown Media CEO Marc Fischer met with a number of policymakers on the day two of AppCon ’17. He lobbied for smart tech policies in meetings with Paul Nagle, Chief Counsel on the Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, Representative Danny Davis of Illinois, staffers of California’s own Senator Dianne Feinstein, Representative John Culberson of Texas, and other movers and shakers shaping our government’s approach to tech. Over the course of AppCon ’17, Dogtown Media has joined in with other app developers and innovators to help push for more emphasis on STEM education in American schools, better mHealth policies, tax reforms to benefit smaller startups, and a variety of other tech-friendly policies designed to ready America for a bolder and brighter future.

One of the key issues for NYC mobile app developers at AppCon this year is lawful government access to data. Citizens hope that their electronic data are private and secure, but antiquated laws make it all too easy for law enforcement officials to access private information. The Email Communications Privacy Act was passed back in 1986, before email, texts, and instant messages were widespread methods of communication. Under this law, any electronic communication that is more than six months old is treated as abandoned property and therefore is no longer subject to strict Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure without a warrant. As long as the ECPA remains intact in its current, outmoded form, the feds can seize old communications from the cloud with just a subpoena — meaning they do not need probable cause to invade your privacy.

Dogtown Media supports the bipartisan Email Privacy Act that recently passed the House. The bill eliminates the 180-day rule and forces law enforcement officials to obtain an individualized warrant before seizing stored communications. If it goes through the Senate and becomes law, the Email Privacy Act will restore much-needed privacy rights to the American people. Hopefully the unified voice of the app developers at AppCon can push the Senate to do the right thing and expand the full protections of the Fourth Amendment to all of our digital communications.

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