Today the Joint Judiciary Committee of the Massachusetts state legislature holds a hearing on various bills of interest to the ACLU. Among them are a transgender rights bill and multiple bills related to electronic privacy.
Our focus at the hearing today is a bill called the Electronic Privacy Act. It would, simply, modernize state law to reflect the kinds of technologies we use to communicate and work in the 21st century. Woefully obsolete federal law allows police to obtain the content of our emails without warrants as long as those emails have been sitting in our inboxes for six months or longer. The bill we are testifying in support of today would plug that six month loophole. It would also require that police obtain a warrant before tracking our physical locations through our phones. Pretty basic stuff, but a far cry from the current law.
Many states have passed comprehensive electronic communications privacy reform in the past few years. Massachusetts needs to get hip and do the same. It’s our hope that the members of the Joint Judiciary Committee will agree, and will quickly move the bill with a positive recommendation.
Read our written testimony.