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California passes location privacy bill

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For those who are not already familiar with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, you need to check them out. They're the best digital rights advocacy group out there and they sponsored this new privacy bill in California. We need to see more states adopt legislation like this that actually benefits consumers.
Location privacy scored a victory today when the California Assembly overwhelmingly passed an EFF-sponsored location privacy bill, SB 1434, on a bipartisan vote of 63-11.

The bill would require law enforcement to obtain a search warrant anytime it requests location information from an electronic device. It codifies the Supreme Court's decision from earlier this year in United States v. Jones, which ruled that the installation of a GPS device for purposes of law enforcement investigation requires a search warrant. Having passed both chambers of the California legislature by a combined vote of 93-17, and assuming the Senate concurs with the version of the bill passed by the Assembly, the bill will soon land on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown.

The last EFF supported California privacy bill -- SB 914, which would have required police to obtain a search warrant before searching the contents of an arrested person's cell phone -- was vetoed by Governor Brown in 2011. In his opinion vetoing the bill (PDF), he wrote "courts are better suited to resolve the complex and case specific issues relating to constitutional search-and-seizures protections." But when it comes to location data, legislatures play an important part in protecting privacy for all of us.

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