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ACLU Launches Pro-Privacy Bills in Tech Campaign

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on January 22, 2016 3:01 PM

The ACLU just upped its geek factor (and possible cred points with the EFF) by launching a handful of pro-tech-privacy bills in just as many states across the nation.

The "TakeCTRL" campaign will impose various technology-privacy related limitations on mostly state actors. Take that, Big Brother!

Broad Sweeping Techie Liberty

The campaign actually refers to multi-state level legislation that could potentially have a huge impact on large swaths of the US population. The bills, if passed, will address student data, employee data, and phone tracking. Another and separate student-privacy bill would ensure that schools cannot simply break into student phones without first obtaining a search warrant.

Reaching Across the Aisle

What is perhaps most striking about the campaign is the broad showing of bipartisan cooperation. Some of the states so showing support are New Hampshire, Alabama, and Hawaii. New Mexico, for instance, has proposed bills that pretty much mirror California's own Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Nebraska has even proposed an outright ban on stingrays -- which is an even toothier police limitation on California's recent step toward clarifying the relationship between cell phone searches and the Fourth Amendment.

When You Want Something Done ...

It appears that the states that have taken up TakeCTRL were self-motivated to move on the issue of tech-privacy because of Congress's unwillingness or inability to protect American's digital privacy. So far, Congress has not successfully enacted expansive pro-privacy laws that envelope cell phone privacy, employee data and phone tracking. In general, opinions as to the efficacy of federal laws over more mundane issue such as the do-not-call list are mixed, at best.

A Nice Map

Overall, the initial support for the campaign has been notable and there is good spread across the American political landscape. So far, the 16 states involved in the movement make up a little less than 100 million of the US population. That's pretty noteworthy for a movement that most readers probably did not know existed until now.

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