QUESTION: Could An UPSIDE To Hillary’s Email Scandal Be … BETTER LEGISLATION?

Every day more emails that Hillary said never existed, suddenly reappear. Hackers have become the new journalists of the 21st Century. In the old days, if you were corrupt and needed to get rid of the evidence you simply tossed the incriminating document into the fire.

Watching the evidence burn was very fulfilling. It was even better when accompanied with a Whiskey on ice and big fat cigar. A feeling of satisfaction came with the knowledge that your corrupt ways were seriously enriching you and no one would be the wiser.

Ash is forever. Email is not.

Email seems impossible to delete! There is always a remnant somewhere hidden in the recesses of your computer and just when you think you’ve killed it…it reappears and no amount of wiping a server with a cloth or something seems to eliminate it.

If there is a silver lining to Hillary being a lying, cheating, scoundrel, it might be this. Americans have come to realize that cyber security is a 4th Amendment issue and a big deal. Our laws governing technology and privacy were written in 1986, when mullets and bag phones were all the rage.

Thankfully, a Bi-partisan group of Senators and Congressman have finally decided it was time to bring privacy law into the modern age. It’s called the International Communications Privacy Act (ICPA). We have to thank Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Dean Heller (R-NV) for getting this bill introduced.

The most powerful changes from this bill update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act from 1986 and bring it into the cyber age. The courts have actually tasked our legislators to get this done and it looks like they may actually come through. The goal is to update current law and strike a balance to both safeguard consumer privacy and law enforcement’s need to access certain communications AFTER satisfying the requirements of a warrant.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), even though he is in his 80’s, is known for “Tweets”, is on board with seeing this improvement to our law. Include, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the outlook is fairly positive to seeing some substantial improvements to this antiquated law.

This truly bi-partisan group includes the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Patrick Leahy (D-VT) who is also ready to step into the 21st century. Both parties should be behind this as it really doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you are on…cyber-security is important and getting the laws right are a giant leap forward.

Here are the main points of what the ICPA will do:

• ICPA Overview – Requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant for all content. Under ICPA, law enforcement may only obtain the content of electronic communications stored with electronic communication service providers and remote computing service providers pursuant to a warrant.

• Creates a clear legal framework authorizing law enforcement to obtain the electronic communications of U.S. persons, regardless of where those communications are located. It also allows law enforcement to obtain electronic communications relating to foreign nationals in certain circumstances.

• Reforms the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) process by providing greater accessibility, transparency, and accountability. ICPA requires the Attorney General to create an online docketing system for MLAT requests and to publish new statistics on the number of such requests.

• Establishes a sense of Congress that data providers should not be subject to data localization requirements. Such requirements are incompatible with the borderless nature of the Internet, an impediment to online innovation, and unnecessary to meet the needs of law enforcement.

Impact on Law Enforcement – This bill will not make it harder for law enforcement to do their job because the International Communications Privacy Act (ICPA) will benefit law enforcement.
I loved 1986 as much as the next guy, but I’m glad to see our legislators finally updating old laws to keep up with technology.

This is just the start. Our world and the data we all produce is going to need constant updating to ensure that our 4th amendment rights persevere in the digital age.

photo credit: post-DNC rally via photopin (license);neverbutterfly

Share if you agree our email and 4th Amendment laws need updating.

About the author: S.C. Sherman

S.C. Sherman grew up a farm kid in rural Iowa. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Communications Studies. Steve is a business owner, and recently ran for Iowa State House of Representatives.. S.C. enjoys political commentary and great stories. He has written three fiction novels found at scsherman.com. He currently lives with his wife and four children in North Liberty, Iowa.

View all articles by S.C. Sherman

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