Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986


Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA)

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) was enacted by the United States Congress to extend restrictions on government wire taps of telephone calls to include transmissions of electronic data by computer (18 U.S.C. § 2510 et seq.), added new provisions prohibiting access to stored electronic communications, i.e., the Stored Communications Act (SCA, 18 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq.), and added so-called pen trap provisions that permit the tracing of telephone communications (18 U.S.C. § 3121 et seq.). ECPA was an amendment to Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (the Wiretap Statute), which was primarily designed to prevent unauthorized government access to private electronic communications. The ECPA has been amended by the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) of 1994, the USA PATRIOT Act (2001), the USA PATRIOT reauthorization acts (2006), and the FISA Amendments Act (2008).

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