Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Govern Access to Overseas Communications


Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nevada), and Chris Coons (D-Delaware) have introduced the International Communications Privacy Act (ICPA) to clarify the ability of United States (US) law enforcement authorities to obtain electronic communications of US citizens and non-US persons outside the US. Identical bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-Washington) and Congressman Tom Marino (R-Pennsylvania). The ICPA is intended to modernize the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) by establishing a rule of law on lawful access to international data storage in a global environment. Under the ICPA, law enforcement may only obtain the content of electronic communications stored with electronic communication service providers and remote computing service providers pursuant to a warrant. The ICPA creates a clear legal framework authorizing law enforcement to obtain the electronic communications of US persons regardless of where those communications are located and allows law enforcement to obtain electronic communications relating to foreign nationals located outside of the US in certain circumstances. In short, the ICPA reflects an attempt to balance the legitimate needs of law enforcement while safeguarding consumer privacy overseas.

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