Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has established himself as one of the premier defenders of American citizens’ right in the current Republican-controlled Congress. Elected to Congress from Iowa in 2002, Rep. King represents quite well the people of his district and state, who like most Americans, want limited government, individual rights, and economic prosperity to be among the highest priorities of our elected officials. Working with the growing Republican majorities elected to the Congress by Americans in 2010 and 2014, Rep. King is one of the leading voices for liberty in Congress.
Over the years, Congress has relinquished much of it’s legislative authority to the executive branch, leading to most regulations being written under law in regulatory agencies rather than via the legislative process in the people’s house, The Congress. In the current Congress and Senate there is an effort to re-assert congressional legislative authority called the Article I Project, lead by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). Under this plan, the Congress will once again function as the first among three co-equal branches of government as the authors of our Constitution intended. One key area where Congress can assert Article I authority is privacy rights under the 4th Amendment.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who is a consistent advocate of the Tenth Amendment and limited government, has called a hearing before The House Judiciary Committee on key 4th Amendment issues. The hearing is titled “International Conflicts of Law Concerning Cross Border Data Flow and Law Enforcement Requests.” This will be a key opportunity to inform the American people about how privacy protections in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) need to be updated to account for changes in technology that have taken place over the years since it was enacted by Congress.
The Microsoft case, where the Justice Department has asserted authority to obtain data stored on a foreign-based cloud server without a warrant and without going through the process under the laws where the server is based, highlights the importance of privacy rights of business and individuals over electronic data. The Justice Dept. ignored the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with Ireland in asserting authority to obtain the data from a cloud server used by a subsidiary of Microsoft, in violation of their privacy rights.
The Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act (LEADS Act) that would allow needed law enforcement access to data via the warrant process while also protecting the privacy rights of businesses and individuals, is a truly balanced approach to reforming the ECPA. Additionally, this will protect America’s competitive edge in the world economy by enabling and protecting the ability to innovate through the use of cloud servers and other computing technology.
The reform of ECPA to protect key privacy rights of Americans and their business is a key opportunity for Congress to act in the public interest. Rep. Steve King has established a solid record in Congress as a true warrior for individual liberty. The hearing before the House Judiciary Committee is a great opportunity to explore key privacy issues involving our emails and electronic data, and to uphold the rights of Americans as well.