The Senate Judiciary Committee voted today to send the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act on to the full Senate for consideration. As The Hill explains:
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation on Thursday that would require police to obtain a warrant before accessing emails, Facebook messages and other private online content.
The bill, which is sponsored by Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), was approved on a voice vote and now heads to the Senate floor.
Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986, police only need a subpoena, issued without a judge's approval, to read emails that have been opened or that are more than 180 days old.
Additionally, PC World reports:
"Americans are very concerned about unwarranted intrusions into our private lives in cyberspace," said Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and main sponsor of the bill. "There's no question that if [police] want to go into your house and go through your files and drawers, they're going to need a search warrant. If you've got the same files in the cloud, you ought to have the same sense of privacy."
It's a good day when confidentiality wins out over the constabulary. Both Houses of Congress need to approve this legislation as quickly as possible.