Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA)

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) is a federal statute that controls electronic monitoring activities. The ECPA amended and updated Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, commonly known as the federal Wiretap Act.

Initially, the Wiretap Act prohibited the intentional and unauthorized interception and disclosure of oral and wire communications by surreptitious recording or wiretapping. The ECPA amended the Wiretap Act to include electronic communications within the activities protected from certain types of interception, access, and disclosure. While much of the ECPA is aimed at monitoring done in the course of law enforcement activities, it also affects private parties, including employers and employees.