Bis220 Electronic Communications

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Electronic Communication Privacy Act of 1986

The creation of chat rooms like my-space, face-book, cell phones, and other personal messaging services has created ethical issues and opportunity for criminals to commit crimes. “Since the wide spread use of computers and the Internet have entered the mainstream of American life. Millions of Americans spend hours every day using computers and mobile devices to send and receive email, surf the Internet, maintain databases, and participate in countless other activities,” (Office of Legal Education Executive Office for United States Attorneys, 2009). The creation and widespread use of social networks have led to ethical problems of protecting the rights citizens and law enforcement agencies. Even though we want law enforcement agents and the government to capture criminals, we want to protect the rights of law abiding citizens. “The Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Stored Wire Electronic Communications Act are commonly referred together as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA).” (Justice Information Sharing , US. Department of Justice, 2012). “ The onset of computer and other digital and electronic communications prompted the need to make updates to the ACT.” (Justice, 2012) The USA PATRIOT Act and subsequent federal enactments have clarified and updated the ECPA in light of the ongoing development of modern communications technologies and methods, including easing restrictions on law enforcement access to stored communications in some cases. (Justice Information Sharing U.S. Department Of Justice, 2012). “The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”) was passed in 1986 to expand and revise federal wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping provisions. It was envisioned to create “a fair balance between the privacy expectations of citizens and the legitimate needs of law enforcement.” (2010). The advances in social networking and telephone communications brought...
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