Privacy SOS

Protecting Your Personal Privacy is Our Legislative Agenda

 The ACLU of Massachusetts is pursuing a bold privacy agenda in the 2013-2015 legislative session. The following bills, if enacted, will go a long way towards updating privacy law in our great Commonwealth, whether on our streets and roadways, in the skies, or in our computers and phones. Please click here to take action to support these measures and share that link with all your friends and family. Together we can build a movement for 21st century freedom. Join us.


Check out the individual bills below; check back soon for the full text of the proposed statutes. We will post links to them when the legislature posts them online.

If you support these bills, please both sign this petition to your legislators and call your state senator and state representative to tell them directly! You can reach your elected officials via the State House switchboard at 617-722-2000.

Skip to: Electronic Privacy Act | Drone Privacy Act | License Plate Privacy Act | Free Speech Act | Password Protection Act

The Electronic Privacy Act  – setting out warrant requirements for phone, Internet, and location tracking

Sen. Spilka & Rep. Walz – SB 796; HB 1684

This bill would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant to access our personal electronic information – details of our telephone use, our contacts, our location, and our email and other communication – from the telecommunications companies we pay for phone and internet services.  It would bring accepted long-standing Massachusetts law and practices governing search warrants into the digital age. Read the ACLU's testimony in support of the bill here.


The Drone Privacy Actregulating the use of aerial surveillance vehicles

Sen. Hedlund & Rep. Garry – SB 1664; HB 1357

We think of drones as controversial tools of warfare and killing, but this remote controlled aerial surveillance technology is also increasingly of interest to local law enforcement.  While the Federal Aviation Administration will regulate drones’ use of US airspace, it is up to state lawmakers to ensure that this emerging technology is used responsibly in Massachusetts – without weapons, of course, and not for warrantless surveillance of residents.  Learn more about the bill here. Read the ACLU's testimony in support of the bill here.


The License Plate Privacy Actregulating automatic license plate readers

Sen. Creem & Rep. Hecht – SB 1648; HB 3068

Automatic license plate readers – an increasingly common technology for identifying vehicles associated with outstanding warrants, registration violations, and parking enforcement – should continue to be used for legitimate enforcement purposes, but should not be used to track innocent motorists.  This bill identifies appropriate uses for ALPR technology and protects drivers’ privacy by restricting government retention of license plate location information beyond those specified uses. Read the ACLU's testimony in support of the bill here. Take action to support the legislation here.


The Free Speech Actending surveillance of political activity

Sen. Chandler & Rep. Lewis – SB 642; HB 1457

Police should not monitor and track people’s First Amendment-protected activity, or amass poorly defined “intelligence” about their speech and associations in giant databases.  This bill would prohibit law enforcement from collecting information about individuals’ political and religious views, associations, or activities — unless it relates directly to a criminal investigation based on reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct. Read the ACLU's testimony in support of the bill here.


The Password Protection Actkeeping social media from snooping employers

Sen. Creem & Rep. Coakley-Rivera  

A growing number of employers are demanding that job applicants and employees give them access to their private social media accounts such as Facebook, making them hand over their passwords or disclose the contents of their accounts.  Schools are requiring students to do the same.

HB 1707 – Rep. Coakley-Rivera’s bill would prohibit coercive access to social media accounts by employers. 

SB 852 – Rep. Creem’s bill would apply to both employers and schools.  

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