California Stops Big Brother
- In California Dems and Republicans banned together to protect our liberty.
- Meanwhile at the Federal level we see both parties eagerly funding every 1984 spy program ever created.
(Tenth Amendment Center) - California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law not just one, but two bills that represent some of the strongest privacy protections in the country. The new laws work together to protect privacy from some of the worst spying programs on the state level, but also take on a part of the federal surveillance state.
Sen. Mark Leno (D) and Sen. Joel Anderson (R) introduced Senate Bill 178 (SB178), the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA_, in February. Touted as a major electronic data privacy act, the bill would prohibit government entities from “compelling the production of or access to electronic communication information or electronic device information,” and bar them from obtaining electronic device information by means of “physical interaction or electronic communication with the electronic device” without a search warrant, a wiretap order, an order for electronic reader records, or “pursuant to a subpoena issued pursuant to existing state law, provided that the information is not sought for the purpose of investigating or prosecuting a criminal offense,” with only a few exceptions.
As noted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), “CalECPA protects Californians by requiring a warrant for digital records, including emails and texts, as well as a user’s geographical location. These protections apply not only to your devices, but to online services that store your data. Only two other states have so far offered these protections: Maine and Utah.”
SB178 passed the Assembly and Senate by wide margins.
“Governor Brown just signed a law that says ‘no’ to warrantless government snooping in our digital information. This is a landmark win for digital privacy and all Californians,” Nicole Ozer, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of California ACLU, said in a statement. “We hope this is a model for the rest of the nation in protecting our digital privacy rights.”
The legislation will also require law enforcement to obtain a warrant, wiretap order, an order for electronic reader records or a subpoena before compelling any person other than the owner of the device to produce electronic information. This specifically includes third party providers.
Passage will also help block the use of cell site simulators, known as “stingrays.” These devices essentially spoof cell phone towers, tricking any device within range into connecting to the stingray instead of the tower, allowing law enforcement to sweep up communications content, as well as locate and track the person in possession of a specific phone or other electronic device. SB178 will require a warrant, wiretap order, or an order for e-reader records before police could deploy these devices under most circumstances.
SB178 does include an exception to the warrant requirement “If the government entity, in good faith, believes that an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requires access to the electronic device information.” It also allows access to information in order to locate a lost or stolen device and with the “specific consent” of the owner of the device.
Under the new law, a service provider may voluntarily disclose electronic communication information or subscriber information when that disclosure is not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law. If a government entity receives electronic communication information voluntarily provided pursuant to subdivision, it must destroy that information within 90 days absent a court order or specific consent of the sender of recipient of the information.
IMPACT ON FEDERAL SURVEILLANCE PROGRAMS
The federal government funds the vast majority of state and local stingray programs, attaching one important condition. The feds require agencies acquiring the technology to sign non-disclosure agreements, as alluded to by the Tacoma police chief.
This throws a giant shroud over the program, even preventing judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys from getting information about the use of stingrays in court. The feds actually instruct prosecutors to withdraw evidence if judges or legislators press for information.The Baltimore Sun reported that last fall, a Baltimore detective refused to answer questions on the stand during a trial, citing a federal non-disclosure agreement.
Defense attorney Joshua Insley asked Cabreja about the agreement.
“Does this document instruct you to withhold evidence from the state’s attorney and Circuit Court, even upon court order to produce?” he asked.
“Yes,” Cabreja said.
As privacysos.org put it, “The FBI would rather police officers and prosecutors let ‘criminals’ go than face a possible scenario where a defendant brings a Fourth Amendment challenge to warrantless stingray spying.”Read More . . . .