California Senate OKs Requiring Warrants To Search Smartphones, Tablets

by Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times

smart home

Bretislav Valek / Wikimedia

The state Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would require law enforcement in California to obtain a search warrant or wiretap order before searching a person’s smartphone, laptop or other electronic device or accessing information stored on remote servers.

“What the bill does is brings our state statute into the 21st century to catch up with technology with regards to privacy,” Leno told his colleagues. “Of course law enforcement needs a warrant before it can go into your mailbox and read your mail, but it does not currently need a warrant to read your emails or text communications or other electronic communications.”

The measure is supported by tech companies including Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter as a way to clarify what their obligation is regarding providing information to law enforcement.

The Senate voted unanimously to approve the bill, which was co-authored by Republican Sen. Joel Anderson of San Diego. “It’s very important to protecting our liberties,” Anderson said.

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SB 178 is part of CFC’s 2015 legislative agenda; read more on that here.

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