Dial-Up Law in a Broadband World
Apr 08, 2010 // The New York Times

Google, Microsoft, the Center for Democracy and Technology and the American Civil Liberties Union have teamed up to form Digital Due Process, a coalition dedicated to updating electronic communication privacy laws for the 21st century. A New York Times editorial advocates for the goals championed by the coalition:


Privacy is central to American law. And in 1986, Congress applied that principle to electronic communications by setting limits on law enforcement access to Internet and wireless technologies. It was a laudable law at the time, but cellphones were still oddities, the Internet was mostly a way for academics and researchers to exchange data and the World Wide Web that is an everyday part of most Americans' lives did not exist.

The law is no longer comprehensive enough to cover the many kinds of intrusions made possible by the advances of the past 24 years. In the absence of strong federal law, the courts have been adrift on many important Internet privacy issues. The law is not clear on when search warrants are required for the government to read stored e-mail, what legal standards apply to GPS technology that tracks people's whereabouts in real time and other critical questions."