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Google testifies before House of Representatives, calls for updated email privacy laws

Sarah Silbert
March 19, 2013
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Google's legal director of law enforcement and information security, Richard Salgado, is set to testify before the US House of Representatives this morning about the need for new email privacy legislation. In his written testimony, Salgado notes that the 1986 ECPA (Electronic Communications Privacy Act) doesn't reflect the internet circa 2013, noting how cloud computing has increased the amount of user information shared and stored online.

Salgado's prepared statement calls for updates to ECPA that allow for greater privacy measures, while also ensuring that government agencies can obtain access to documents when necessary. He points to the ECPA's policy on government requests to view users' email -- only a subpoena is required for email 180 days or older, but viewing newer communication requires a search warrant -- as an example of the law's "inconsistent, confusing and uncertain standards." Google wants to alter the ECPA to require search warrants to access any user data stored online, regardless of their age. Salgado's testimony also touches on Mountain View's own efforts to improve transparency when it comes to user privacy, including publishing reports about government requests. Read the statement in full via the source link below.

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