- Austin Business Journal: Texas email privacy bill turns heads
- Computer World: In Texas, cops will soon need a warrant to read your email
- Government Technology: Will Texas pass nation's strongest email privacy bill?
- RT.com: Texas could set new standard on email privacy laws
- Fierce Homeland Security: Texas legislature passes bill requiring warrants for email searches
- Mashable: Texas police may soon need warrants to read emails
- Daily Tech: Texas seeks to become first state with strong email privacy protections
- Law360: Texas email privacy bill could prod states, feds
During session, Grits had considered the warrants-for-email bill a bit of a consolation prize. Location data was where government put up a real fight, probably because the tool is used much more often. Location data is an investigative shortcut; reading reams of old email is a slog, so investigators do it a lot less often. Plus, the law-enforcement lobby really didn't want to stand up in public and say the cops should be able to read your personal email without a warrant. Even those registering opposition to HB 3164 at the committee hearing merely "put in a card." Nobody wanted to speak publicly against it, much less answer questions from legislators on the topic.
Several reporters have asked if I think Rick Perry will veto the bill. While having no direct knowledge, Grits tends to doubt it. For starters, the warrant-requirement was amended to prosecutor-friendly legislation that the DAs actually want. Plus, the bill has gotten loads of positive national press, many of the stories plastered with Perry's picture. It sets Texas apart from the Obama Administration which has a terrible record on this topic. Mr. Stickland gives it a fine, grassroots conservative Tea Party imprimatur. And since the Lege didn't do much for ideological conservatives this year, this is something to sell. Meanwhile, vetoing it would open the governor up to criticism from grassroots conservatives in a potential primary fight with Greg Abbott, John Cornyn, or (God help us) another presidential run. Finally, it's the right thing to do and Perry's record on criminal justice reform topics isn't half bad, though the Fourth Amendment has been a weak spot. I just don't see a reason he would pick this bill out of the pile to veto and many reasons for him to let it become law.
One thing's for sure: We'll know by Father's Day.
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