Target: California Governor Jerry Brown
Goal: Require that law enforcement obtain warrants before searching a person’s emails, smartphones, and laptops.
A warrant may soon be required before police could search a person’s smartphone or laptop if a proposal being considered in California gets signed into law. This would be a major step forward for privacy in the 21st century. Demand that this proposal become California state law.
The legislation being considered is being billed as a very necessary update to the state’s privacy protections. While California has been a hotbed of technological growth and innovation, it has languished when it comes to making sure that its citizens’ technological and digital privacy is maintained. Police, for example, need a warrant to search a person’s mailbox, but do not need one to search their emails or other digital communications.
This bill would fix that. It would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant or wiretap order before they could search a person’s electronic devices, like smartphones and laptop computers, as well as before they could search information that is kept on remote servers, like email providers or data clouds.
While this legislation has widespread popular support, California law enforcement is obviously lobbying heavily against it. Sign the petition below to demand that California Governor Jerry Brown sign this bill into law when it gets to his desk so that Californians’ right to privacy can be maintained.
Dear Governor Brown,
I am writing you today regarding SB 178, a proposal working its way through the halls of California’s capitol that will in all likelihood arrive on your desk in the near future. When it does, I urge you to sign it into law without hesitation.
Though you have a history of reluctance when it comes to curtailing police powers, SB 178 should be considered nothing less than a necessary update to your state’s laws. While Californians have enjoyed the fundamental American right to privacy for decades, technology has outpaced the laws that ensure that privacy. As a result, law enforcement can at this point in time search citizens’ smartphones, laptops, and electronic communications at will, without needing to justify the search to a judge.
If police need to acquire a warrant before they can search through a person’s physical mailbox, there is no reason that they shouldn’t have to do the same before they can search through a person’s digital one. To require anything less would be hypocritical and internally inconsistent with your state’s own laws. I demand that you sign SB 178 into law as soon as you can so that Californians can enjoy the right to privacy that they are owed.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: david drexler