by Barry Donegan, Truth in Media
California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill recently preventing state-level law enforcement agencies from obtaining access to citizens’ private electronic communications without a warrant. He also signed a companion bill restricting the warrantless use of stingray technology by local governments.
Senate Bill 178, the California Electronic Privacy Act (CalEPCA), prevents state-level investigators from obtaining a suspect’s digital communications without first securing a warrant. The law also mandates that California law enforcement agencies procure a warrant before compelling tech companies, many of which are headquartered in the state, to turn over metadata and other records.
The technology-focused publication Wired, which characterized the California Electronic Privacy Act as “the nation’s best digital privacy law,” quoted ACLU of California technology and civil liberties policy director Nicole Ozer as saying, “This is a landmark win for digital privacy and all Californians. We hope this is a model for the rest of the nation in protecting our digital privacy rights. This is really a comprehensive update for the modern digital age.”
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