Monthly Archives: April 2013

April 29, 2013 | News

Internet Lobby Vows ‘Wiretap Mandate’ Will be ‘Dead on Arrival’ in Congress

The Hill
Internet lobby vows ‘wiretap mandate’ will be ‘dead on arrival’ in Congress
Posted: April 29, 2013 17:27PM EDT

A lobbying group representing Internet companies including Google, Facebook and Yahoo is fighting back against a draft federal proposal that would make it easier for police to intercept online communications as they occur.

“The Department of Justice has not made the case for granting law enforcement broad new powers over Internet companies for purposes of new wiretap authority. There are a number of serious unintended consequences with this flawed proposal.” Michael Beckerman, the CEO of The Internet Association, said in an emailed statement.

“A wiretap mandate for the Internet is dead on arrival,” he added.

 

The Washington Post reported on Monday that a draft proposal from an interagency task force would empower courts to levy hefty fines on Internet companies that fail to comply with wiretap orders. The fines would start at tens of thousands of dollars and would start doubling every day after a 90-day period, anonymous sources told the newspaper.

For several years, the FBI has complained that it is becoming difficult to intercept the communications of suspected criminals as more people use online services instead of phones.

“A growing gap exists between the statutory authority of law enforcement to intercept electronic communications pursuant to court order and our practical ability to intercept those communications,” FBI Director Robert Mueller said in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in late 2011. “Should this gap continue to grow, there is a very real risk of the government ‘going dark’ resulting in an increased risk to national security and public safety.”

The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) of 1994 imposes technical requirements on phone companies to speedily comply with court-approved wiretap orders. But the law doesn’t cover Internet services like instant messaging, email or social media sites.

During a talk at the American Bar Association last month, FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann said gaining more power to wiretap Internet communications is his agency’s “top priority” for the year.

But civil liberties advocates are also fighting back against the proposal, which has not yet been made public and would have to be approved by Congress.

“We’re really concerned about any proposal that may build backdoors into Internet communications. The privacy and cybersecurity concerns could be enormous,” said Chris Calabrese, a lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “We also think there’s potential costs to innovation and keeping the Internet robust, vibrant and free of unwarranted surveillance.”

Joe Hall, a senior technologist for the Center for Democracy and Technology, warned that requiring Internet companies to build surveillance capabilities could empower hackers to access sensitive communications.

“A wiretapping mandate is a vulnerability mandate,” he said. “Once you build a wiretap capability into products and services, the bad guys will find a way to use it.”

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April 25, 2013 | News, Press Releases, Statements

Statement on Senate Judiciary Committee Passage of ECPA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, The Internet Association issued the following statement in support of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage of the Electronic Communications Privacy Amendments Act of 2013:

“The Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage of the Electronic Communications Privacy Amendments Act of 2013 is a significant step in safeguarding the privacy of users’ electronically stored content. We commend Chairman Leahy, Senator Lee, and the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for their leadership on this issue. The Internet Association applauds the bipartisan efforts of the Senate Judiciary Committee in requiring law enforcement to possess a warrant before gaining access to online content, no matter where it is stored or for how long. This is an important issue for the Internet industry, and we remain committed to ensuring that this bill is signed into law.”

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April 25, 2013 | ICYMI, News

ICYMI- Coalition Letter: Support Due Process in Government Access to Emails

Before It’s News
Coalition Letter: Support Due Process in Government Access to Emails
Posted: April 25, 2013 12:49

FreedomWorks has signed onto the following coalition letter supporting the ECPA Amendments Act:

The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
Chairman
Senate Judiciary Committee

The Honorable Charles Grassley
Ranking Member
Senate Judiciary Committee

Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley,

We, the undersigned companies and organizations, are writing to express our support for Chairman Leahy’s and Sen. Lee’s ECPA Amendments Act, S. 607, which the Committee will consider shortly. The bill would update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to provide stronger protection to sensitive personal and proprietary communications stored in “the cloud.” We urge all Members of the Committee to support the bill.

ECPA, which sets standards for government access to private communications, is critically important to businesses, government investigators and ordinary citizens. Though the law was forward-looking when enacted in 1986, technology has advanced dramatically and ECPA has been outpaced. Courts have issued inconsistent interpretations of the law, creating uncertainty for service providers, for law enforcement agencies, and for the hundreds of millions of Americans who use the Internet in their personal and professional lives. Moreover, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a provision of ECPA allowing the government to obtain a person’s email without a warrant is unconstitutional.

The ECPA Amendments Act would update ECPA in one key respect, making it clear that, except in emergencies, or under other existing exceptions, the government must obtain a warrant in order to compel a service provider to disclose the content of emails, texts or other private material stored by the service provider on behalf of its users.

This standard would create a more level playing field for technology. It would cure the constitutional defect identified by the Sixth Circuit. It would allow law enforcement officials to obtain electronic communications in all appropriate cases while protecting Americans’ constitutional rights. It would provide clarity and certainty to law enforcement agencies at all levels and to American businesses developing innovative new services and competing in a global marketplace. It would implement a core principle supported by Digital Due Process, www.digitaldueprocess.org, a broad coalition of companies, privacy groups, think tanks, and academics.

For all these reasons, we strongly urge all members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to support the ECPA Amendments Act, S. 607.

Sincerely,

Adobe
Amazon
American Association of Law Libraries
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
American Civil Liberties Union
American Library Association
Americans for Tax Reform
AOL
Application Developers Alliance
Association for Competitive Technology
Association of Research Libraries
Automattic Inc.
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Blacknight
Blekko
Brennan Center for Justice
BSA | The Software Alliance
Center for Democracy & Technology
Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights
Center for National Security Studies
Cheval Capital
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Computer & Communications Industry Association
Consumer Data Industry Association
The Constitution Project
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
cPanel
Data Foundry
DemandProgress
Direct Marketing Association
Discovery Institute
Distributed Computing Industry Association
Digital Liberty
Dropbox
eBay
EDUCAUSE
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Facebook
Firehost
FreedomWorks
Foursquare
GANDI.net
GitHub
Golden Frog
Google
Hackers & Founders
Hedgehog Hosting
Hewlett-Packard Company
Information Technology & Innovation Foundation
The Internet Association
Internet Infrastructure Coalition
Koston Consulting
LaborVoices
Lean Startup Circle
LiveJournal
Lesser Government
Lookout Mobile Security
Media Temple, Inc.
Microsoft
Misk.com
Mozilla
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Newspaper Association of America
Open Society Policy Center
Oracle
Personal
R Street Institute
Records Preservation and Access Committee
Rackspace
Reddit
Reed Elsevier Inc.
salesforce.com
ServInt
A Small Orange
Software & Information Industry Association
SpamExperts
SpiderOak
Superb Internet
Symantec
TechAmerica
TechFreedom
TechNet
TechStars
Tumblr
Twitter
UK2Group
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Wired Tree
World Wide Web Hosting
Yahoo!

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To read the original article, click here.

April 25, 2013 | ICYMI, News

ICYMI- Email Warrant Measure Gets Senate Judiciary Nod

Mashable
Email Warrant Measure Gets Senate Judiciary Nod
Posted: April 25, 2013 11:02

A measure that would require law enforcement to get a warrant to read citizens’ emails regardless of their age or whether they have been opened passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a voice vote Thursday.

Patrick-leahy

The bipartisan measure, jointly written by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.; pictured above) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), comes in the form of an amendment to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, or ECPA. ECPA was first passed in 1986 and requires law enforcement to get a subpoena, not a warrant with a judge’s signature, to read emails fewer than 180 days old or those that have been opened.

The Leahy-Lee amendment would also prohibit companies from disclosing the contents of customers’ communications to the government and requires the government to notify a citizen when his or her email has been disclosed via warrant.

It does, however, allow the government to delay such notice in some cases, such as when such notice might tip off a suspect to investigators’ work. The amendment would still allow investigators to use a subpoena to access information such as a service customers’ name, address and IP address and to access internal corporate communications.

ECPA has become the center of a heated debate on the proper balance between citizens’ online privacy and the efficacy of police investigations. Privacy rights groups argue that ECPA’s treatment of email and other electronic communications as different than physical mail has been as out of date, while law enforcement groups have argued requiring a judge’s approval to read suspects’ emails would slow investigations and potentially put lives at risk.

The Judiciary Committee’s vote can be counted as a victory for privacy activists, though they now face the challenge of getting the amendment passed in the full Senate.

“With the vote today, Congress took a huge step toward finally updating ECPA to ensure emails and documents we store in the cloud receive the same Fourth Amendment Protections as postal mail and documents we store in desk drawers in our homes,” said Greg Nojeim Senior Counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, which has been pushing for ECPA reform.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage of the Electronic Communications Privacy Amendments Act of 2013 is a significant step in safeguarding the privacy of users’ electronically stored content,” said The Internet Association, a lobby group that counts such companies as Google, Facebook and Amazon among its members, in a separate statement.

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To see the full article, click here.

April 22, 2013 | Letters

The Internet Association Signs Digital Due Process Coalition ECPA Letter of Support

Excerpt:  We, the undersigned companies and organizations, are writing to express our support for Chairman Leahy’s and Sen. Lee’s ECPA Amendments Act, S. 607, which the Committee will consider shortly. The bill would update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to provide stronger protection to sensitive personal and proprietary communications stored in “the cloud.” We urge all Members of the Committee to support the bill.

The ECPA support letter was submitted  today by Digital Due Process, a broad coalition of companies, privacy groups, think tanks, and academics. The Internet Association is one of the co-signers on the the letter. Click here to read the letter.  

 

April 22, 2013 | ICYMI, TV/Radio

ICYMI- The New Lobbyists: Tech Takes Washington (Video)

Bloomberg
The New Lobbyists: Tech Takes Washington
April 22, 2013

Megan Hughes reports on tech companies lobbying in Washington, DC on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West.”

Watch video clip here.

April 22, 2013 | ICYMI, TV/Radio

ICYMI- Power Play 4/22/13- Michael Beckerman on Fox News, Cyber Security and Internet Taxation

Fox News Power Play
Power Play- Michael Beckerman on Fox News, Cyber Security and Internet Taxation
April 22, 2013

Boston coverage: Four stories you might have missed.  New Challenges for Immigration Deal. Plus – The internet security battle. (Michael Beckerman interview begins at 18:19)  To watch the video click here.

 

April 19, 2013 | News, Press Releases, Statements

The Internet Association Applauds Gang of Eight Bipartisan Deal to Modernize Immigration Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Internet Association issued the following statement applauding the Senate Gang of 8 on their comprehensive immigration reform legislation, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013:

“The Internet Association appreciates the bipartisan efforts of the Gang of 8 to tackle the complex issue of immigration reform. This is a good first step in making necessary reforms to the immigration system, which will positively impact not only the Internet industry but America’s economy at large. The Internet Association looks forward to working with Congress to continue strengthening this legislation to achieve effective and sound immigration policies.”

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April 18, 2013 | News, Statements

The Internet Association’s Statement on H.R. 1580, A Bill to Affirm the Policy of the United States Regarding Internet Governance.

Yesterday marked an important day for Internet Freedom. The House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved bipartisan legislation to affirm the policy of the United States regarding Internet governance.

The Internet is one of the greatest engines for economic growth, freedom and prosperity the world has ever known. The unique nature of the Internet – free from government control and governed by multiple stakeholders – has unleashed unprecedented entrepreneurialism, creativity, innovation, and freedom far beyond imagination. Preserving a free Internet for all people is essential to the preservation of political and economic liberty.

The Internet Association commends the members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee for their leadership in standing together to strongly oppose ITU efforts to regulate the Internet. We look forward to working with Members of the Senate to advance legislation to stop this imminent threat to Internet freedom.

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