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Inside Privacy Updates on Developments in Global Privacy & Data Security from Covington & Burling LLP

Judiciary Committee May Consider Amendments to VPPA, ECPA

Posted in Congress, Cybersecurity, United States

According to a number of media outlets, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider proposed amendments to the Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”) and to Title II of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, better known as the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”).  The amendments reportedly will be offered by Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and likely will mirror some of the amendments he proposed to the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, a bill that ultimately stalled in the Senate in early August.  

Leahy’s proposed amendments to the Cybersecurity Act included an amendment to the VPPA intended to clarify that a consumer may consent to the disclosure of her video viewing information “through an electronic means using the Internet” and that such consent can be given in advance of the disclosure and continue for a set period of time or until the consumer withdraws her consent.  The amendment passed the House last December.   

The SCA amendments proposed to eliminate the archaic distinctions in the current statute between the legal protections for (1) communications held by “remote computing services” and those held by “electronic communications services” (“ECS”) and (2) for communications stored by an ECS for longer than 180 days and those held for shorter period of time.