Maine's Legislature is poised to become the first in the nation to enact a law requiring police to obtain warrants to get the location history for people's cellphones.Apparently, though, it's not completely a done deal. Ryan Gallagher at Slate reported that:
The House voted 113-28 on Wednesday to pass the measure, following its passage in the Senate last week by a margin of five votes. The bill now goes back to the Senate for enactment.
For the Maine legislation, there’s just one more challenge ahead. While the Senate has already voted in support of the bill, 20-15, local news reports have speculated that unless the legislature can find funding for LD 415’s fiscal note of almost $234,000 during the next two years, final enactment could fall through.The lopsided margin of support in the Maine House of Representatives reminded me of the dynamic on our cell-phone location legislation here in Texas. Notably, the vote in the Texas House in favor of an amendment to require warrants for cell-phone location data won by a phenomenal 126-4 margin. But the authors of the bill it was attached to, Rep. John Frullo and Sen. John Carona, killed it with a procedural maneuver and sent a version to the Governor without requiring warrants for cell-phone location data, though we did of course get first-in-the-nation amendment tacked on to require warrants for cloud-based email and other stored communications.
Congrats to the advocates and legislators in Maine who pulled this off and I hope the funding comes through. With a little luck, perhaps in 2015 Texas will follow your lead. Would have been awfully sweet to get that this session, though. We came darn close. To my mind, the warrants-for-email bill is a nice but insufficient consolation prize compared to what Maine has accomplished.