Email Privacy Concerns Heat Up Again

The topic of email privacy has been a topic of conversation again. This is a result of several organizations sending a letter to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding its policies around email privacy.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) governs some of the email privacy issues. Whether or not the ECPA should undergo reform has been a recent topic of debate. The ECPA was created in 1986 and currently allows law enforcement agencies to read emails in some cases without having a warrant.

A bill has been introduced to require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before accessing electronic communications. Proponents of this bill believe this would provide greater protection to email communications.

Proponents of the reform state the email privacy law should require that all law enforcement agencies obtain a warrant for the consent to the contents of email. Opponents on the other hand argue that the subpoenas the law requires, for emails 180 days or older, requires a higher burden of proof than warrants.   

Debate will likely continue as those on both sides argue the validity of the reform of email privacy laws. The results of the reform on email privacy will have an impact on email marketing and the concerns of those using email as a form of communication.