The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has frequently attacked Apple for the App Store, mobile usage, and its closed nature of the ecosystem. The largest company in the world by market capitalization and the non-profit group of activists are always on different side of the coin over privacy.
But this time, it is not so. EFF has announced that Apple and Dropbox–the cloud storage company that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily for free–have joined the supporters of so-called Digital Due Process to push the U.S. Congress to reform the ECPA.
Digital Due Process is made up of companies and non-profit organizations like EFF, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Amazon.
In a statement on the partnership of Apple and Dropbox, EFF says,
“The DDP coalition is especially focused on pressing Congress to update the woefully-outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act or ‘ECPA.’
“ECPA was passed by Congress in 1986, before the World Wide Web was even invented and when cell phones were still a rarity. Yet to this day, ECPA is the primary law governing how and when law enforcement can access personal information and private communications stored by communications providers like Google, Facebook, your cell phone company or your ISP.
“It’s past time that Congress gave ECPA a much-needed digital upgrade so that it better fits the always-on, location-enabled technological landscape of the 21st century. That is why DDP is pushing for amendments to ECPA to ensure that the government can’t track your cell phone or obtains your online content–like your private emails, social network messages, photos, search history, word processing documents and backup files–without first going to court to get a search warrant based on probable cause.”
EFF says the law is outdated and doesn’t provide any guarantee for the consumers over tracking of a mobile device. In other words, the designated authority can trace a mobile phone and can use that information without need of a mandate from law enforcement groups.
The California legislators recently passed a law to make it mandatory for law enforcement officers to obtain a search warrant whenever there is an evidence of electronic crimes over privacy.
Social networking sites, personal data collection practices, and database breaches are the major security concerns that most security experts and non-profit groups have highlighted in recent times. Apple has released updates to its location tracking software that raises concerns over security and privacy as security researchers predicts that Apple’s iOS devices can track users anywhere they go. Dropbox, on the other hand, was in scrutiny over their employee access to the encrypted data stored on their servers.
Google also came under radar of European privacy regulator over the unauthorized use of data sent by Wi-Fi routers, which can broadcast the location of cellphones and give the identity of their owners within their range.
Fortunately, we are going to see a change and the support of big names like Apple, Dropbox, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook will surely provide more visibility on this initiatives.