The privacy laws that protect the data we store online were written nearly 30 years ago, yet they have received shockingly little reform to account for the rapidly changing technology they regulate.
The Electronic Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) was put in place in 1986 to account for changing technology and the emergence of electronic communication, but Congress relied too heavily on historical and present day technology models to craft the law. As a result, ECPA is ill-equipped to protect data stored in the cloud and in some cases weakens the protections we would expect to receive.
Today, government and private third parties can access our emails, documents, and metadata stored by cloud providers with few judicial barriers. As wearable devices and the “Internet of Things” become a larger part of the digital conversation, the information we create and store in the cloud will become increasingly revealing and invasive, especially when accessed by unauthorized third parties.
This podcast is a brief look at ECPA and its limitations, and an attempt to understand how our privacy protections have survived–and can continue to survive–evolving technology.
A special thanks to Ryan Calo, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Washington, whose insight is featured in the podcast.
(Image credit: Elliot P.)