from the probably-not-much-if-you-aren't-a-terrorist dept.
erier2003 writes: The Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act has a simple and vital purpose: making it harder for the government to get your email, instant messages, and Facebook chats. It amends a decades-old law to require government agencies to get a warrant to access the contents of any email or other electronic record—no matter how old those communications are. Sen. Mike Lee, one of the bill's cosponsors, told the Daily Dot why it matters. "The bill adds a warrant requirement for communications that were previously considered so old as to be irrelevant to their participants and unworthy of privacy protections. Right now, emails and other electronic messages older than 180 days are considered to have been “abandoned” by the people who sent and received them. Law-enforcement agencies don't need to get a warrant to force a company like Google or Facebook to turn over those communications." The act also requires the government to notify people whose records it has acquired, though they can delay that notice for 90 or 180 days if they feel sending it will put somebody at risk.
"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple
system that worked."
-- John Gall, _Systemantics_