Wednesday, July 24, 2013

D Magazine touts Stickland's warrants-for-cloud-email bill

D Magazine has a story in its August issue on Jonathon Stickland's amendment to require a warrant for law enforcement to access cloud-based email and other computer content. The story by Farraz Khan, which quoted your correspondent, called it "the session’s most significant bipartisan piece of legislation." It concluded:
While the legislation was awaiting Governor Rick Perry’s signature, news of the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program broke, landing electronic privacy back on the national agenda. The timing was perfect: says Henson, it made Stickland look “eerily prescient.” On June 14, the governor signed Stickland’s measure into law, effective immediately.

Now, in Texas, state law enforcement must secure a probable cause warrant before it can search private emails or cloud content. According to Allie Bohm, a speech privacy and technology policy strategist with the ACLU, Texas is the first state to enact a law protecting email content from warrantless searches. But it won’t be the last. Stickland’s office has received phone calls from Republican and Democrat activists and policymakers from California, Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia, who want to pass similar legislation in their states. And it puts pressure on Congressional lawmakers in Washington to pass a bill to amend ECPA that was introduced in the spring by Senators Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, and Mike Lee, a Utah Republican.
Not bad for a freshman.
This has been so well received, it makes me even more frustrated we didn't get the warrants for cell-phone location bill passed this session. That would have made a nice two-fer.

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