Companies like Google receive hundreds of requests per week from courts and government agencies seeking access to private user account information. Although Google complies with valid subpoenas, court orders, and warrants, the company has also expressed concern about overly broad requests and the need for new data privacy laws.
In a recent blog post, Google announced that it plans to continue its push to update laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. “We’re a law-abiding company, and we don’t want our services to be used in harmful ways. But it’s just as important that laws protect you against overly broad requests for your personal information,” Google’s Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, wrote.
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act was implemented in the early days of the Internet. As a result, it fails to address the realities of modern email use and new technologies like social media. For instance, under the ECPA, opened emails that are stored on a provider’s server for more than 180 days are deemed abandoned and do not require a warrant. Thus, they are not afforded the same privacy protections as emails stored on a home computer or documents kept in a file cabinet.
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