Published On: Fri, Oct 2nd, 2015

Protect electronic privacy

I’m writing to ask you to advance important privacy legislation: S.903 and H.1531, titled “An Act to protect electronic privacy.” Massachusetts must apply the basic rules and standards governing searches of people and property to the personal electronic records that define our lives in the 21st century.

The state of the law in this area is shocking–woefully obsolete. For example, today, federal statutes state that law enforcement may obtain the entire contents of your email archive as long as the messages are over 180 days old. Indeed, our most sensitive and personal information, from our email messages to the location information continuously generated by our cell phones, remains exceedingly vulnerable to warrantless government surveillance.

The Electronic Privacy Act will go a long way to help our laws keep pace with our technology. At a minimum, probable cause warrants must be required before law enforcement obtains: (1) the content of our electronic communication such as emails or chats; (2) information we store online in “the cloud,” such as photos, documents, digital address books and calendars, or internet search terms; and (3) real-time and historical location information.

This is so basic, but so critical. Please support and work to advance this vital legislation.