Nice job California! CalECPA passes

Another step forward in the state's commitment to privacy protection

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Statement of Joe Ridout, state legislative coordinator:

For decades, California has been the national leader in protecting its citizens’ privacy, going as far as to affirm a right to privacy in the state Constitution since the 1970s. With the passage of SB 178, today marks another proud step forward for California’s commitment to privacy protection.

Prior to the passage of SB 178 (also known as “CalECPA", for California Electronic Communications Privacy Act), a disturbing digital loophole had been allowed to grow: although state law enforcement could not legally examine your mail or ransack your file cabinet without a warrant, no such permission was necessary for a potentially capricious search of one’s email or digital documents accessible through a smartphone, the modern-day equivalent of a file cabinet.

The bill had bipartisan support, authored by Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine). Yet although the bill had passed both the Assembly and the Senate with sizable majorities, Governor Brown had vetoed similar legislation in the past, leaving its fate uncertain until yesterday.

The new law will protect location data, metadata and time stamps (as well as devices themselves) from warrantless searches.

SB 178 represents a overdue pushback against warrantless government surveillance. Californians no longer have to make a Hobson’s choice between using current technology and forfeiting their personal privacy. Nice job, California and Governor Brown!




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