June 29, 2017
by Karen Renner

Technology out paces the legal system

Technology out-paces the legal system How quickly laws are outdated, especially when technology is concerned. The first Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was enacted almost 31 years ago.  This was when American industry’s technology, customer base and infrastructure were largely domestic. Today, technology is global.

Lawmakers did not contemplate the need to establish rules for law enforcement to access data belonging to non-local persons located abroad. No though was given to scenarios where technology companies are subject to conflicting legal obligations in another country.

“As a result, technology companies, law enforcement and, ultimately, the courts are forced to choose between competing interpretations of an outdated statute.” [https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2017/06/15/]

With this in mind, how should a country look to modernize their antiquated digital data laws. Aspects to be considered are the timely access to critical evidence, protection of individual privacy, respect for the laws of diverse countries, while fostering technological innovation and supporting competitiveness.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee is tackling these questions.  This is a discussion that should be closely followed. The ramifications may be far-reaching.