Among the techies, Ars Technica posted something on the bills, as did Motherboard. Webpro News posted an item on the legislation, following up with another piece posing the question, "Can States Do a Better Job of Protecting Online Privacy?" Of all these recent stories, though, an item from IT World had the best lede:
It appears folks deep in the heart of Texas really don’t trust the government. At the very least, they don’t have a lot of faith in what Johnny Law is likely to do with their location data – and it’s something the rest of us outside the Republic of T. may all eventually benefit from.While Grits was pleased at all the new attention to the Texas bills, and the reference to Governor Moonbeam's veto made me chuckle, I must say that the idea this legislation is "sweeping" or "stricter than any yet seen" is truly sad: After all, the bill only requires a probable-cause warrant, updating Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches of our "persons, houses, papers, and effects" to comport with the realities of 21st century technology. And its focus on location data, from my perspective, is really quite narrow. Far more "sweeping" is legislation proposed by state Rep. John Frullo (HB 2268) and Sen. John Carona (SB 1052), which would essentially eliminate - for personal electronic data of all types, not just location data - the "third-party" doctrine created by the US Supreme Court that allows law enforcement to bypass the Fourth Amendment to access business records held by vendors. That would be a truly radical, though IMO entirely proper and necessary, upgrade to Fourth Amendment doctrine.
According to a report by Ars Technica’s Cyrus Farivar, legislators in Austin have proposed two mobile privacy bills that are stricter than any yet seen by any other US governmental entity – even tougher than the one California Governor Jerry Moonbeam Brown vetoed last year.
As of this morning, Rep. Hughes' location tracking bill had drawn strong bipartisan support - including Republican and Democrat joint-authors and 26 co-authors - and perhaps the media coverage will help boost those numbers even higher.
MORE: From the Texas Electronic Privacy Coalition, of which Grits is a member.
See prior, related Grits posts:
- Cell phone tracking by government: How it's done
- On the Fourth Amendment implications of location tracking
- Secrecy and federal court dockets: On the nuts and bolts of authorizing government surveillance
- Video, resources from location tracking conference
- First MSM coverage of push to require warrants for GPS tracking by law enforcement
- Regulate GPS tracking of cell phones, electronic devices by law enforcement
- Bill filed to require warrant for GPS tracking of cell phones
- 101 Texas House members endorse bill criminalizing warrantless drone photography
- Half of law enforcement requests for personal cell phone data require only a subpoena