California Cops, Want To Use A Stingray? Get A Warrant, Governor Says

from ars technica

On Thursday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that requires police get a warrant to use a stingray during investigations. The devices, which are also known as cell-site simulators, are usually used to locate a phone but can also in some cases intercept calls and text messages.

The law, known as the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act, imposes other sweeping new requirements to enhance digital privacy, and imposes a warrant requirement before police can access nearly any type of digital data produced by or contained within a device or service.

“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 ACLU of California was one of the organizations, in addition to tech companies including Google, Airbnb, Apple, Facebook, that co-sponsored the bill.

Notably, the law specifically says that the government is forbidden from “accessing electronic device information by means of physical interaction or electronic communication with the device,” barring a short list of exceptions.

California is by no means the first state to impose such a requirement, but as the most populous state it the union, it will surely have an outsized effect. Others states that already have similar laws include WashingtonVirginiaMinnesota, and Utah.

More here.

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