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Friday, July 19, 2013

States Act to Protect Electronic Privacy

While NSA and the FISA courts seem to think they have an unfettered right to invade the American public's privacy the states have become the protectors of the fourth amendment. Last week the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that under its constitution police are forbidden to track a person's location through cell phone records without a warrant. This is similar to a ruling just previously handed down by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that found the state's constitution prohibited extensive GPS monitoring of an individual -- regardless of whether they are the driver or passenger of a car -- unless police obtained a search warrant.
On the legislative front, Montana became the first state to require police get a search warrant by statute before tracking a person's location. California passed a similar measure but it was vetoed by Governor Moonbeam Brown. That didn't work in Maine where the legislature overrode the governor's veto. Massachusetts is considering similar legislation. The New York Times reports over a dozen states are considering various electronic privacy bills.
Any bets that electronic privacy will not be a campaign issue in both the mid term and 2016 elections?

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