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California Bill Would Update Law On Collection Of Electronic Data

The California Assembly is set to vote Thursday on a bill that would curb California government agencies’ warrantless access to on-line data like emails, social media and other electronic communications.

A hand rests on the keys of a laptop keyboard.
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Above: A hand rests on the keys of a laptop keyboard.

State Senator Mark Leno says current federal law isn’t strong enough to protect electronic data in California from unwarranted government access because it only requires agencies to get a court issued search warrant to access data for the first six months of the data’s life.

Leno says, “Technology has advanced much more quickly than our laws here in California specific to electronic communications privacy.”

Leno’s bill requires state law enforcement to obtain a warrant to obtain all electronically stored information, regardless of its age. Opponents say Leno’s bill doesn’t strike the same balance between privacy rights and public safety as current federal law.

The bill has cleared the Senate. The Assembly will take it up for a floor vote this week.

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