On This Episode…
Today is about browser wars. Turns out things are really shaken up. This is interesting, as people are no longer using browsers that much.

Also, the House re-introduced the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) which is a very big deal. This was passed back in 1986 and hasn’t been updated since.

Tune in and find out what does it mean to have the ECA re-introduced, what are the major changes to the users and to the email, and how the government gets involved.

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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.

Airing date: 02/09/2017

Email Privacy Act – Microsoft Losing Browser Market Share


Craig Peterson: Hi, Craig Peterson here. We are going to do a TechSanity Check on two different things today. First of all, we are going to be talking about the browser wars. Turns out things are really, really shaken up. And that’s kinda interesting because people are using browsers a little less and less. We’ll talk about that as well. And of course we have to talk about the House bill. It was introduced and passed. It was done unanimously back in 2016. It was passed again just this week. So what does that mean? What does that mean to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act? This is a very, very big deal. It was passed in ‘86 and hasn’t been really updated since. So there’s going to be some major changes to you and your email, how it’s handled and how the government gets involved. All of that and more. Stick around. Here we go.




Well, I had a little bit of the flu here. Boy, I’m still a little clogged up but I appreciate you guys listening. I always love to have all of our listeners and getting the feedback. My text number, you can text me directly. It’s right there on my website at http://CraigPeterson.com. Glad to answer your questions. Get involved and do a little TechSanity Check. In fact, that’s why we came out with this particular podcast. You probably know that I’ve been podcasting for well over a decade now and this is a new podcast. We do daily where we talk about daily tech-related stuff. Often to do with the government and politics and how businesses are misusing tech because I really want to help everybody understand.  I want to help you understand what this is all about.


So let’s start with that. Let’s start with the House. The House passed a bill just this week and for about 31 years all of our electronic data has been protected by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Now there’s another one that was passed called the Millennial Act. But we’re gonna talk right now about the ECPA. And people have been very concerned about the whole ECPA because it was passed in ’86. And things have really, really changed. 2011 happened, you know, 911. And we ended up with a big change. We now have government trying to get into everything all of the time, monitoring us. Monitoring all of our phone calls. Monitoring all of our electronic communications. And, you know, for better or worse, I think ultimately for worse, that’s what we have lived with for many, many years. The government has secret courts, star chamber proceedings. You can’t defend yourself. They can have orders they are gagging people so you can’t tell them hey listen. The government just told me to give them all of this information, etcetera, etcetera.


So privacy-minded individuals and organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation as well as some tech companies have been calling for this Electronic Communications Privacy Act to be revised to bring it in line with modern privacy considerations. So now the House has passed a new email privacy act that will address some of the concerns that we have with this over 30-year-old ECPA. Now the Email Privacy Act is primarily concerned with revising law enforcement’s access to users’ electronic records. And it’s trying to protect data no matter how long it’s existed. You see the ECPA back in ‘86 made the assumption that email providers, because storage was expensive and you didn’t really want to keep your email around a long time on the server, and because it would be downloaded from the server to your computer back then using a protocol called POP, that if the email had been on the server for more than 180 days it was considered to be abandoned.


So it’s just any other abandoned item. You know just like I talked about on WGAN yesterday. It’s abandoned. You can have it and go for it. Right? Mister government. Basically, all they had to do was ask for it. Well, the Email Privacy Act amends it to require a judge issued warrant for the older data as well. Doesn’t that just make sense? Let’s get this above board. And let’s not have this in secret courts either frankly. But it goes on now from the house to the Senate.


Now back in the April last year, the House passed this Email Privacy Act, the House passed it unanimously. But it did not make it through the Senate. There a lot of people who are opposing it including Jeff Sessions, who, if he, you know, gets in, he’s going to be confirmed, frankly. If he gets in, it’s very concerning to a lot of privacy people, myself included. Okay? Obviously here. I do commentary on the show. I’m not just reporting the news. I’m making the news. So the Email Privacy Act may or may not pass the Senate. We’ll see. But with 109 co-sponsors down in the House, it’s obviously a very, very popular law. So, we’ll see as it goes on. Gary Shapiro, he is the president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, are the guys that run that big consumer show I cover every year, CES, said that the ECPA was written before Congress could imagine US citizens sharing and storing personal information on third party servers and is woefully out-of-date. He’s absolutely correct about that. Only 10 million email accounts existed when the ECPA became the law of the land. By the way, one of those email accounts, well more than one was mine, are far less than the billions of users passing information around the internet today. That thing about my email that was me. That wasn’t Gary Shapiro.

Alright. So a lot to know there, but we’ll keep a track of it. We’ll see as it flushes out if it passes the Senate. And I will breathe a sigh of relief if it does.


Another 40 million people have bolted from Microsoft’s browsers. That was just here last month. Isn’t that amazing? So if you push the whole year back and you look at it, well this wasn’t last month as in January. This was the last month of last year, 2016. So if you look at the whole year, 2016, you’re talking about a third of a billion people abandoning Microsoft’s browsers. Now that’s a really, really big deal when you consider that most people who have personal computers use Microsoft’s browsers, at least they did. And Microsoft’s computers throughout, you know, Windows comes with their browsers. There’s nothing to do. You don’t have to go and find the browser. You don’t have to download the browser. You don’t have to install the browser, right? You don’t have to do any of that. You just go ahead and click and you’ve got Internet Explorer. You’ve got Edge and you’re all set.


So if these declines continue at the rate of the last year, Internet Explorer and Edge are going to be well below the 20% mark by March of this year. Less than 20% of the people will be using Microsoft browser. So who’s winning? W ho’s picking up the share as Microsoft is losing it again, right? It came up with Edge because they wanted a more modern browser. And, of course, people finding Edge is not only a little on the cumbersome side but is not compatible with many websites. The same problem IE had. Do you know how many times, as I’ve been working with my teams developing websites for businesses, how many times we have to work around bugs in Internet Explorer? Bugs in Edge, right? They just don’t obey the rules. I don’t know if they don’t care or they don’t test. Maybe it’s both. I don’t know. But Microsoft again here’s another example of crap software, okay? Okay I said it. I said it. I said it. I said it. They got some good software. I think their Office Suite now is really, really good. Although what I don’t like about it is it’s just too bloated, right? That’s why I like the Mac stuff, but anyways.


They’re dropping and you might think that Google Chrome would be picking it up but you know who picked up the slack is Firefox for Mozilla. Their user share jump nearly 2 percentage points. It’s over 11% now and a large increase earlier in the year 2016 as well. So Mozilla’s Firefox has really stepped away from falling over the cliff here. In just 2 months it recovered all of the losses it incurred during the past year. Now the Firefox people are really trying to make their browser platform. I noticed that the people who listen to my podcasts, and thanks to everyone that does by the way. Thanks, thanks, thanks. But you guys are using Firefox a lot. So I went out and did some research. In fact it’s one of the top means of listening to my podcasts. And it turns out that most of these people, most of you guys, in fact, you’re using

Firefox with some of its podcast capabilities. So Firefox, and you’re doing just a great job. Congratulations Mozilla. I think that makes a whole lot of sense. Microsoft deserters, some of them ended up on Google’s Chrome, which is good. You know, I’m not so happy with Chrome. I like a lot of the plugins and apps. I use them all the time. I just get concerned because Google is, you know, number one comes to monitoring you. Keeping everything forever. So I get a little concerned about that as well.


So kind of interesting two topics for today and Firefox is doing great. We’ll see. We’ll see how this goes. Thanks for listening. A little bit of a TechSanity Check today. We’ll be back, of course, tomorrow to finish up the week and then Saturday I will be live on iHeartRadio in stations here in the Northeast. So if you want to listen then by all means, please do. And if you’d like a reminder with a link to listen online just text my name Craig to me at 855-385-5553. Just pick up your phone, hopefully, it’s an iPhone. Open your… the little text messaging app. The number’s 855-385-5553 and just text the word Craig. And if you have any questions you can send them to me. This is me. This is not a service. This is me and I’ll be glad to answer your questions. Or if you have any suggestions as well for the show or show topics. 855-385-5553 and you’ll find all of that at http://CraigPeterson.com. Have a great day and we’ll chat again tomorrow.