According to Bloomberg, Google, who gets about 1,400 requests a month from U.S. authorities for users’ email and documents, is leading an effort to change key aspects of the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act in order to limit or prohibit government access to citizen’s private communications. Google’s chief legal officer told Bloomberg:
“Given the realities of how people live and where things are going in the digital world, it’s an important time for government to act” to update the law. It’s a bipartisan issue and I think the momentum is going to build because citizens are expecting this.”
According to Bloomberg:
“Google officials say changes in the law are needed to prevent law enforcement from obtaining certain e-mails and other content without search warrants, and to give documents stored on cloud services the same legal protections as paper documents stored in a desk drawer.”
Google has been slowly leaking information related to (and drawing attention to the issue of) the thousands of requests for user data that it receives from the United States government and local authorities each month. In addition, Google is increasing the monies it spends on lobbying. Google spent $16.5 million on lobbying last year, up from $9.7 million in 2011, according to Senate lobbying disclosures.
Other members believed to be working with Google on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act issue include the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.