Today, Engine and a coalition of more than 20 organizations call on Congress to require law enforcement to secure a warrant before asking businesses turn over user data. Data plays an increasingly important role for startups. This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to vote on a proposal that would change the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) rules outlining how the government can access digital data.
ECPA was enacted in 1986 and is in need of an update. Innovations like cloud computing are available to businesses of all sizes and have changed the way data is stored and transmitted. The government must set clear due process protections -- such as securing a warrant -- to access consumer data through businesses.
Startups and other innovative companies leverage all sorts of data to make products better, ranging from location data to make map applications more accurate, to transaction information that prevents fraud. A lack of clarity under the current law imposes problems for companies.
Uncertainty about compliance increases legal costs that most startups are generally unprepared to take on. Also, giving up customer data can erode the trust of users. Receiving a complex legal request from the government for user data can put startups in a bind, forcing them to decide between absorbing unforeseen legal costs or alienating current and prospective users.
Engine has joined with a coalition of technology, industry, and civil liberties organizations to call on Congress to reform ECPA in order to create greater legal certainty around user data. Today is your chance to get involved by telling the Senate Judiciary Committee to make data, privacy, and due process a priority.
Click here to tell Congress that your digital data deserves the same protections as your mail and phone calls. You can also tweet at any or all of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee listed below to tell them that protecting data matters to startups.
Chairman Patrick Leahy @SenatorLeahy
Ranking Member Charles Grassley @ChuckGrassley
Sen. Herb Kohl contact form
Sen. Dianne Feinstein @SenFeinstein
Sen. Orrin Hatch @Orrin Hatch
Sen. Chuck Schumer @ChuckSchumer
Sen. Jon Kyl @SenJonKyl
Sen. Dick Durbin @SenatorDurbin
Sen. Jeff Sessions @SenatorSessions
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse @SenWhitehouse
Sen. Lindsey Graham @GrahamBlog
Sen. Amy Klobuchar @amyklobuchar
Sen. John Cornyn @JohnCornyn
Sen. Al Franken @alfranken
Sen. Michael Lee @SenMikeLee
Sen. Christopher Coons @ChrisCoons
Sen. Tom Coburn @TomCoburn
Sen. Richard Blumenthal @SenBlumenthal