As the Digital World rapidly moves into the future, many state and federal laws about digital media seriously lag behind. In answer to some pressing problems of technology, digital privacy, government surveillance and civil liberties, California passed its Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on October 8, 2015.
The bill is deemed by some to be part of Governor Brown’s crusade to keep everyone happy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMQTz1gN5YI
Senate Bill 178 was a bipartisan bill introduced by State Senators Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) in early February 2015. As of October 8, 2015, SB 178 was transformed to Chapter 3.6 (commencing with Section 1546) to Title 12 of Part 2 of the California Penal Code. The bill/law text can be accessed here: Text:http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB178
The law simultaneously answers the needs of private citizens and law enforcement by:
– Upholding U. S. and California Constitutional privacy rights by requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant before:
– accessing digital information, such as e-mails, text messages and online documents, and
– tracking or searching electronic devices such as cell phones;
– Providing law enforcement with the needed tools to combat crime in the digital age.
The law’s ability to address concerns of both private concerns and law enforcement is obvious by its widespread support from liberals, conservatives, business interests and civil rights advocates, and neutrality by most law enforcement agencies.
The law’s proponents include Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, reddit, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Adobe, the ACLU of California, California Newspaper Publishers Association, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), California Public Defenders Association, San Diego Police Officers Association and Small Business California.
Neutrality on the bill was maintained by law enforcement agencies such as The California District Attorneys Association, California Police Chiefs Association, California Sheriffs Association, and the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association.
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