Google sent out a call to action today urging internet users to sign a petition on Whitehouse.gov demanding that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) be reformed to include more protections for online activity and to reflect the change in the way people use the Internet. As is the case with petitions on the site, the White House is only obligated to respond once the petition has reached 100,000 signatures. As of this writing the petition has 43,928 of the signatures it needs by Dec. 12.
The petition calls on the government to provide Fourth Amendment protections for online data. The proposed changes would make it so that law enforcement or government would need to get a warrant from a court in order to obtain personal data. The request for the warrant to monitor or obtain online activity would have to provide some sort of probable cause under proposed changes.
Here's more from the petition:
"Americans are deeply concerned about NSA surveillance. But the NSA’s not the only problem. An outdated law says the IRS and hundreds of other agencies can read our communications without a warrant. That law, known as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), was written over 25 years ago, before the services we use today even existed.
Right now, several bills in Congress would fix this by updating ECPA to require a warrant, but regulatory bodies are blocking reform in order to gain new powers of warrantless access.
We call on the Obama Administration to support ECPA reform and to reject any special rules that would force online service providers to disclose our email without a warrant."
You can sign it by visiting Whitehouse.gov.