Banning Warrantless Data, Utah Governor Signs Privacy Bill into Law

Search form

Banning Warrantless Data, Utah Governor Signs Privacy Bill into Law

Banning Warrantless Data, Utah Governor Signs Privacy Bill into Law
Fri, 4/4/2014 - by Mike Maharrey

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Governor Gary Herbert this week signed a bill into law that will thwart some of the effects of the growing surveillance state.

HB0128 passed the state Senate by a vote of 28-0 and the House by a vote of 71-2. It makes any electronic data obtained by law enforcement without a warrant inadmissible in a criminal proceeding. This includes data gathered by the NSA and shared through the super secret Special Operations Division (SOD) or fusion centers.

The new law also stops Utah law enforcement from obtaining phone location data without a warrant. It reads, in part:

"Except as provided in Subsection (1)(c), a government entity may not use, copy, or disclose, for any purpose, the location information, stored data, or transmitted data of an electronic device that is not the subject of the warrant that is collected as part of an effort to obtain the location information, stored data, or transmitted data of the electronic device that is the subject of the warrant in Subsection (1)(a)."

Utah-based Libertas Institute president Connor Boyack said the bill will codify important privacy protections into law.

“While the Fourth amendment protects our ‘effects’ from searches and seizure without a warrant, modern technology has outpaced its application. Police agencies around the country use tools and tactics that violate this constitutional guarantee in order to obtain the location or data of a cell phone or other digital device," Boyack said.

"HB128 statutorily makes clear that our digital property is part of our ‘effects’ that are to only be obtained with judicial oversight, a particular suspicion of crime, and a warrant.”

This law will not only protect people in Utah from warrantless data gathering by state and local law enforcement. It will also end some practical effects of unconstitutional data gathering by the federal government.

NSA collects, stores, and analyzes data on countless millions of people without a warrant, and without even the mere suspicion of criminal activity. It also tracks, along with other federal agencies like the FBI, the physical location of people through their cellphones.

In late 2013, the Washington Post reported that NSA is “gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world.” This includes location data on “tens of millions” of Americans each year – without a warrant.

Through fusion centers, state and local law enforcement act as information recipients from various federal departments under Information Sharing Environment (ISE). Federal partners for ISE include the Office of Director of National Intelligence, which is an umbrella covering 17 federal agencies and organizations, including the NSA. State and local law enforcement share data up the chain with the feds.

Last fall, the public learned that the NSA expressly shares warrantless data with state and local law enforcement through a super-secret DEA unit known as the Special Operations Division (SOD). And, from a Reuters special report the public learned that most of this shared data has absolutely nothing to do with national security issues. Most of it involves routine criminal investigations.

This data sharing shoves a dagger into the heart of the Fourth Amendment. HB0128 will now prevent state law enforcement from gathering cell phone location data and sharing it up the chain, and it will make information vacuumed up by the feds and shared down the chain inadmissible in court, stopping a practical effect of NSA spying.

The legislation works hand-in-hand with the more well-known “4th Amendment Protection Act” introduced by Rep. Marc Roberts this year. That legislation would ban material support to the NSA’s new data center at Bluffdale. Supporters urge the rallying cry of “no water = no NSA data center” in support of the proposal.

The bill was referred to interim study where it will have public hearings between now and December before further consideration in early 2015. HB128 takes effect on July 1, 2014. For more information visit offnow.org.

Article Tabs

U.S. negotiators are working to permanently block a landmark regulatory proposal in the E.U. aimed at addressing climate change – and instead to force European countries to import the world's dirtiest oil.

This summer, the CIA's private Amazon Web Services cloud—shielded from the public behind a wall of national security—becomes operational.

The study released Monday by Human Rights Watch raises questions about the criminal justice system's ability to respect civil rights and due process since 9/11.

Extensive research and reports commissioned by the fracking industry are treated as seminal, informative works within the U.K. government – but to date, no one outside industry vouches for its safety.

“It doesn’t make sense that I work hard, help the restaurant make money and yet I can’t eat there or support my family on just one job. This is not the America that I believe in."

In the 80s and 90s they called them "IMF Riots" – but what the biggest international investment organizations and consultants now see happening looks a whole lot bigger.

Posted 5 days 4 hours ago

Part 3: Chris Hedges interviewed Harvard professor and MayDay SuperPAC founder Lawrence Lessig about his plans to break the hold of big money on American elections.

Posted 5 days 4 hours ago

Patient details were shared with organizations including private health insurance companies, many based in the United States.

Posted 5 days 5 hours ago

Investors led by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, and PIMCO, the world’s largest bond-fund manager, have sued some of the world’s largest banks for breach of fiduciary duty.

Posted 6 days 4 hours ago

The aggressive foreclosures and water shut-offs are a deliberate scheme to shock the population, drive long-time residents out of the city center, seize property and gentrify downtown Detroit and the waterfront.

Posted 5 days 4 hours ago

“It is our law that we need to protect the land and the water so that our people will be here for another 9,000 years."

The Latest Foreclosure Horror: The Zombie Title

Thousands of homeowners are finding themselves legally liable for houses they didn't know they still owned after banks decided it wasn't worth their while to complete foreclosures on them.

Black, White and Red flags overran the scene all across Egypt on Wednesday evening as the country celebrated its “second revolution” with the ousting of embattled President Mohamed Morsi after mass street demonstrations saw the military intervene to bring about a transitional period.

Examining the little island with big direct democracy ideas, the documentary Pots, Pans and Other Solutions tells the story of Iceland’s reaction to the financial crash.

Exxon's Pegasus Pipeline has drenched the town of Mayflower, Arkansas, in heavy Canadian crude.

Sign Up