If passed, this is very good news for all Americans, including genealogists, librarians, social scientists, and others. As stated by James G. Neal, President of the American Library Association:
“No freedoms are more vital, and important to librarians, than those of inquiry and speech. Without real privacy, Americans effectively have neither. Current law that allows our government to get and view the full content of our most private electronic communications without a search warrant isn’t just outdated, it’s dangerous in a democracy. ALA strongly supports the bipartisan Leahy/Lee “ECPA Modernization Act” to finally and fully bring the Electronic Communications Privacy Act – and with it our fundamental rights to privacy, inquiry and speech – into the modern era.”
James G. Neal specifically mentions libraries, but his comments apply to all American citizens. If I might change one word in his statement, “No freedoms are more vital, and important to [all Americans], than those of inquiry and speech. Without real privacy, Americans effectively have neither.”
Neema Singh Guliani, Legislative Counsel for the ACLU stated:
“The proposed bill would make clear that the Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement to get a warrant in order to access emails, location data, and other sensitive information. It would also ensure that the government complies with its obligation to notify individuals when their location and content information is requested. We urge the Congress to pass this important bill.”
You can read more about the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) at https://cdt.org/issue/security-surveillance/ecpa-reform/.
You can read more about the factors that led up to this proposed legislation at: https://cdt.org/blog/broad-support-for-the-ecpa-modernization-act/.