The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) applauds the approval of the Email Privacy Act by the US House of Representatives. The House passed the bill with a voice vote, moving this critical piece of legislation one step toward ensuring that the outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) is reformed to keep pace with the digital age. The House previously passed the Email Privacy Act in a unanimous vote during the last Congress.
House passage of the Email Privacy Act signals an important recognition that Fourth Amendment protections extend to online communications. As libraries and universities move services into the cloud and more communications take place online, ensuring the protection of information long considered to be private—including what individuals are reading or researching—is essential.
ARL has long supported reform of ECPA to ensure that the Fourth Amendment applies to digital communications and urges the Senate to quickly move forward to pass this bill.