[Libs-Or] Call for Action: Tell Congress to Protect Online Privacy

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 28 12:05:18 PST 2012

Call for Action: Tell Congress to Protect Online Privacy

The Electronic Computer Privacy Act (ECPA) is scheduled for markup
tomorrow, Thursday, November 29th, in the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC).
Originally enacted in 1986 as a means of addressing telephonic wiretapping,
at a time when technology was less complex and the Internet had not yet
become a ubiquitous means of communication, ECPA is no longer adequate to
protect the privacy of email and other digital communications. Reform is
necessary to insure that the same legal requirements that protect the
privacy of physical letters and packages are extended to electronic mail
and the digital applications that store and transmit our data.

But reopening the ECPA for review and improvement has provided an
opportunity for legislators and law enforcement agencies to propose
provisions that would eliminate or weaken any privacy protections for
electronic communications. One such proposal would allow federal agencies
to obtain an individual's email without a search warrant. Members of the
Senate - particularly Senators serving on the Judiciary Committee - need to
hear that we value our privacy and want ECPA reform that preserves and
enhances Fourth Amendment protections for electronic communications, rather
than removes those protections.

ACTION ALERT: Defend online privacy! Use this online tool to send an email
to your Senators <http://www.vanishingrights.com/> or call them directly
and ask them to preserve our Constitutional rights by updating ECPA.

senators on the Judiciary
Committee<http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/about/members.cfm>and their
office phone numbers. If your senator is on the list, please make
a call!

THE MESSAGE: Senators should vote for more privacy protections and oppose
amendments that would expose the public to greater monitoring and
surveillance without the appropriate subpoenas or warrants.
Like a book's cover, the title of this bill does not reflect the grave
threats to privacy rights inherent to proposed "reforms." The discussions
are even more complex and confusing because stakeholders, like the American
public, have initially only heard about potential amendments and other
rumored amendments that may not be made. For further background and key
provisions, visit our VanishingRights
<http://vanishingrights.org/>webpage. None of us have the full picture
of this bill at this writing.
(Bill number may be S. 1011.)

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU? The statute says the government can read a lot of
your most personal communications and online activities without a warrant.

WHY ARE LIBRARIES CONCERNED? The library community has long standing
principles committed to protecting the privacy of library users based upon
the principle that the government and others have no right to access what
people read - or now, where they go on the Internet. If law enforcement
need such access, ALA argues that some kind of judicial due process -
including a warrant requirement - must be in place.

If ECPA reform does not pass in this Congress, which has little time left,
it will be reintroduced in the next Congress. It is important to make our
position clear now.

As argued by members of the Vanishing Rights Coalition: "We are simply
asking for ALL of our personal information to have the SAME Constitutional
protections regardless of how we choose to store it. "


*Diedre Conkling**
Lincoln County Library District
P.O. Box 2027
Newport, OR 97365
Phone & Fax: 541-265-3066
Work email**: **diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org*<diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org>
Home email: **diedre08 at gmail.com* <diedre08 at gmail.com>

 "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change
your attitude."--Maya Angelou
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