January 13, 2015
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday warned Congress against trading privacy for security following the hack of Sony Pictures and other "calamity around the world."
"With what happened recently with Sony and the hacking of their system and some of the cyber warfare that has gone on by Russia, now North Korea and others — that a lot of the big government types try to use this as an excuse to come in and usurp more and more authority," he said during a brief speech at the Heritage Foundation.
He added: "While I do want security as much as the next person, I want to make sure we do it within the confines of our Constitution.”
Salmon, a conservative Republican, was there to tout his proposal to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which would limit the government's ability to access old emails without a warrant.
Salmon first introduced the legislation last year and reintroduced it Monday.
While pushing his own legislation, he cautioned that a cybersecurity information sharing bill and other reforms to National Security Agency authority to collect Americans’ phone records must be done correctly.
“With all the calamity and terrible things that happen around our world, there is a rush to go in and, I think, do things the wrong way,” he said.
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act currently allows law enforcement to access emails older than 180 days or those that have already been opened with a subpoena, rather than requiring a warrant. The update would end that and give electronic communications protections already in place for physical documents.
More than 270 lawmakers in the House previously signed onto similar legislation to update the law, but it failed to make it out of committee in the last Congress.