End Warrantless Cellphone Tracking


Target: Bill Haslam, Governor of Tennessee

Goal: Ban state and local law enforcement from participating in invasive cellphone location surveillance

Tennessee’s state senate recently took action to keep the state’s law enforcement from obtaining tracking data from citizens’ cellphones without a warrant. The new law, which saw overwhelming approval from both the senate and the Judiciary Committee, will now move to the state house for consideration before being passed on to the governor for final approval.

Senate Bill 2087, introduced by Senator Mae Beavers, would protect Tennessee citizens from mobile surveillance and tracking performed by state and local law enforcement organizations. It will also reduce the effects of data gathering by federal agencies such as the National Security Administration.

The bill seeks to ensure that “no governmental entity shall obtain the location information of an electronic device without a search warrant issued by a duly authorized court.” Furthermore, any evidence obtained by warrantless location surveillance would be inadmissible in a court of law.

Information Sharing Environment, or ISE, is a program where state and local law enforcement pass location information on to federal partners through fusion centers. Without state surveillance sharing, larger federal data gathering operations will receive much less data on Tennessee citizens. State and local law enforcement will also be unable to request data from these sharing centers for their own investigations.

Since the uproar surrounding Edward Snowden’s disclosures of mass surveillance, the federal government has made little meaningful progress in reducing the scope of their spying. Tennessee is one of the first states to take matters into its own hands, doing what it can to protect its citizens from the surveillance network. Urge Tennessee’s governor to approve the bill, setting an example for other states to do the same.


Dear Governor Haslam,

A bill banning state and local law enforcement from obtaining cellphone location data without a warrant recently received overwhelming approval from Tennessee’s senate. The bill would prevent state law enforcement from trading this data with federal organizations, as well as make any location data obtained without a warrant inadmissible in a court.

If passed, the law would not only protect Tennessee’s citizens from warrantless surveillance on the local or state level, but also reduce the effectiveness of the federal government’s mass surveillance program in the state.  Though the federal government has made little effort to decrease the scope of its surveillance, this state law could make meaningful progress toward that goal. I ask that you make every effort to ensure that the bill passes into law in order to protect Tennessee citizens from mass mobile surveillance.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: tsca via WikiMedia Commons

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