Golden Frog Goes to DC (Again!) to Promote Online Privacy Legislation

We’re in Washington DC this week talking to Congress members about our 2016 legislative priorities to protect digital property. We’re also attending CDT’s Tech Prom annual dinner. Keep reading for more details, and be sure to follow us on social!

The Issues

We’ll be talking about several issues this week, communicating to members of Congress that the federal government’s all-encompassing mass surveillance through warrantless seizures and searches of all citizens’ digital information must end. Additionally, we’ll illustrate that pervasive electronic monitoring, interception and other seizures of electronic information intrude on individual liberty and property and violate the Constitution.

Update ECPA

ECPA, or the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, will be marked up by the House Judiciary Committee on April 13. ECPA sets the rules for when police and the government can read our email, look at our photos and access other content stored in the cloud.

  • The Committee should pass the bill without significant change, as Golden Frog opposes amendments that threaten the integrity of the bill.
  • The law passed in 1986 does not take into account current technology or the way citizens use digital information (property).
  • Currently, information can be accessed with only a subpoena, which opens the door for snooping and overreaches on constitutional liberties.

Cybersecurity and Privacy Principles

  • Government should tend to its own information security before trying to regulate the way businesses do so.
  • Government should follow due process and legal standards for mandated business disclosures of information.
  • Government should limit how much sensitive information it gathers, retains and shares and the duration for which it’s kept.
  • Effective cybersecurity measures require robust encryption, which should be deployed ubiquitously. The government should encourage development of encryption technologies and resist policies that compromise strong encryption.

Protect American Citizens’ and Small Businesses’ Ability to Use Encryption Services

  • Congress must pass legislation protecting the right to encrypt digital information in storage and transit.
  • Secure encryption should be available to both small businesses and individuals.
  • Encryption is not a threat to national security and shouldn’t draw suspicion from the FBI, NSA or other authorities.
  • Encryption is a form of self-defense, and using encryption to protect data is how one protects his or her digital self and digital property.

Ban Government-Mandated Backdoors Into Americans’ Cellphones and Computers

  • Congress should pass legislation that prohibits government mandates to build backdoors or security vulnerabilities into devices/software.
  • Information we generate and store is our property and we have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
  • Any government agency that asks Congress to draft legislation enabling backdoors is misleading legislators. Cryptography experts will tell you there is no such thing as a secure backdoor.

Proceed to Address Communications Content Collection by Amending Section 702 and Replacing Executive Order 12333 with Congressionally-passed Statutory Controls

  • FISA Section 702 and Executive Order 12333 must be revised to better protect privacy and eliminate mass surveillance and information collection.
  • Congress should limit mass content collection, and better control and restrict access to this information. They should further limit use and sharing between non national security agencies, and impose a deadline for information destruction.
  • U.S. intelligence agencies have operated without effective oversight for too long.
  • The wholesale interception and storage of users’ content that is occurring without a warrant or demonstration of probable cause must end.

Download the PDF outlining our 2016 legislative priorities.