Our 2015-2016 legislative agenda is inspired by the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Rights in our Massachusetts Constitution. Through state legislative advocacy, we aim to defend and extend key constitutional principles, including privacy, equality, democracy, and justice for all. The ACLU supports the following privacy bills currently before the Massachusetts legislature.
Electronic Privacy Act
Would protect our personal electronic records held by phone and internet service providers—our emails and texts, documents stored online, and GPS location records—from being accessed by the government without a warrant.
License Plate Readers (LPRs) scan thousands of license plates daily and store information indefinitely about where and when you drive. These proposals would protect innocent people from limitless government tracking of their driving and from private misuse of their LPR data.
Would prohibit employers and educational institutions from demanding access to private social media accounts as a condition of employment or learning opportunities. Private communications deserve the same protections online and offline.
While the Federal Aviation Administration is setting rules for drones’ use of US airspace, it is up to state lawmakers to ensure that any government use of this emerging technology protects Massachusetts residents from unwarranted surveillance.
Would protect students’ cell phones or other personal electronic devices from being searched by school staff without reasonable suspicion that the device contains evidence of a violation of the school’s code of conduct.
Free Speech Act
Sen. Chandler (S.734)
Would prohibit police from monitoring and tracking people’s political and religious views, associations, or activities unless it relates directly to a specific criminal investigation.
Would expand existing safeguards for personal information held by corporations and government agencies to include unique biometric identifiers (for example, fingerprints used to log on to a computer or for the new “Apple Pay” service).
Would establish mechanisms to ensure that when multiple people are on the same insurance plan confidential health care information is not shared with anyone other than the patient against the patient’s wishes. This is critical for dependent spouses in abusive or coercive relationships, and young people under age 26 on their parents’ plans.
Read a related blog from legislative counsel Gavi Wolfe, Because health insurance only works if you feel safe to use it.