01:50 GMT29 May 2020
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    Experts claim that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act shows that US states can protect digital privacy of their citizens without waiting for the US Congress to take federal action.


    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA) proposed by California Senator Mark Leno shows that US states can protect digital privacy of their citizens without waiting for the US Congress to take federal action, experts told Sputnik.

    “States can and should impose stronger privacy protections and CalECPA is exactly that: a comprehensive digital privacy bill that is consistent with the strong protection in the California constitution,” non-profit digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation Senior Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury said on Monday. “CalECPA allows the state to take its digital privacy in its own hands instead of waiting for Congress to act."

    California Senator Mark Leno proposed CalECPA on Monday. The legislation imposes a warrant requirement for police to access citizens’ e-mail or social media messages as well as to inspect their electronic devices.

    The California legislation would protect electronic communications with the same privacy regulations that the Fourth Amendment grants paper records, Chicago-Kent College of Law Legal Fellow Adam Rouse said.

    At present, e-mail and database records fall outside of the direct protections.

    “States may want to protect their citizens more aggressively than a blanket Federal Statute would provide,” Rouse said. “I believe that passage of laws like [CalECPA] are a very big step forward in the fight for freedom from government intrusion on private communications.”

    The US government has already grown comfortable to tap into various forms of electronic communications without permission, the legal expert said, and it can be a challenge to pass a federal law similar to the California bill.

    Experts say the CalECPA legislation is very important given that more than 90 percent of US adults have cell phones or devices that contain private information.

    “These devices contain a wealth of personal and sensitive information,” attorney Hanni Fakhoury said. “Safeguarding this information is crucial to preserving privacy in the 21st century.”

    The United States public has been increasingly concerned over privacy violations, following the disclosure of National Security Agency mass surveillance programs by whistle-blower Edward Snowden in 2013.


    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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