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California Assembly passes geotracking privacy bill

A step in the right directon
Thu Aug 23 2012, 11:21
An eye in close-up superimposted by a screen of random numbers

THE CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY has passed a bill that requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant before they request location information from an electronic device.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sponsored California Senate Bill 1434 that was introduced by Senator Mark Leno in February, which requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant before gaining access to location data available through devices such as smartphones and tablets. The California Assembly voted 63-11 to pass the bill, sending it to Governor Jerry Brown.

Brown's signature on the bill is the final step before it becomes law, however a previous similar bill was vetoed by Brown last year, claiming that the courts are better suited to deal with such issues. The EFF said, "when it comes to location data, legislatures play an important part in protecting privacy for all of us".

The EFF said it filed an amicus brief putting its reasons forward as to why a court must demand a search warrant for the government to access geolocation data, and said, "we also think legislatures need to be aggressive in enacting strong privacy protection laws".

With smartphones and tablets providing companies, governments and law enforcement agencies a wealth of private data, organisations such as the EFF has been working to get measures in place so to protect the privacy of users, many of whom do not realise how much personal data is being given away by their mobile devices. µ


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