Save Privacy

Jill Kelley

When my name was leaked after I reported a stalking incident last year, leading to numerous false headlines and articles, I learned the scope of the government’s authority to view e-mail. Until new legislation is passed, our legal protections online are minimal. For example, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act was written with a loophole that allows government to read e-mail over 180 days old without a warrant. Public e-mail servers receive thousands of government requests a month for e-mail. Your e-mail may be read as you are reading this; the government may be surveilling your business, taxes, and personal conversations. Other forms of communication (U.S. mail and telephone calls) are protected and require a search warrant for surveillance. Another provision in our privacy laws that needs change is the protection of those who report a crime. Otherwise, law-abiding citizens will fear the unexpected consequences of a leak by the authorities. Until our privacy laws give us both privacy and protection, I’ll continue to be an advocate for reform, so others don’t have to go through the challenges my friends and family endured. • In 2012, Kelley reported a cyberstalker to the authorities. Her name was later leaked to the press and private e-mails between her friends were read and incorrectly transmitted to the media. The events led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus.

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