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SIgn Of the Times: Calif. Privacy Protections Signed Into Law 41

The EFF reports a spot of bright news from California: Governor Jerry Brown today signed into law the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act. CalECPA, says the organization, "protects Californians by requiring a warrant for digital records, including emails and texts, as well as a user's geographical location. These protections apply not only to your devices, but to online services that store your data. Only two other states have so far offered these protections: Maine and Utah." The ACLU provides a fact sheet (PDF) about what the bill entails, which says: SB 178 will ensure that, in most cases, the police must obtain a warrant from a judge before accessing a person's private information, including data from personal electronic devices, email, digital documents, text messages, and location information. The bill also includes thoughtful exceptions to ensure that law enforcement can continue to effectively and efficiently protect public safety in emergency situations. Notice and enforcement provisions in the bill provide proper transparency and judicial oversight to ensure that the law is followed.
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SIgn Of the Times: Calif. Privacy Protections Signed Into Law

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  • by WarJolt ( 990309 ) on Thursday October 08, 2015 @07:57PM (#50690297)

    You should still encrypt your cell phone and if you're going to put anything online you don't want public you should encrypt it before putting it there.

    • Encrypting your phone should keep the local police out, but we should assume the feds have arranged back doors for their own use. I'm not sure we can avoid that problem, given they could pay to have the backdoor installed into the chips at the fab. Ex. they make you run your phone through the scanner at airports. Are they looking for drugs or downloading your phone's memory?
      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Re: "arranged back doors", weak crypto, trap doors designed in. Equipment interference options for the state or city is now at a very low cost per user from federal/mil contractors or other nations/private sectors.. Collect it all is now at a city budget per year per interesting user.
        Users cannot gain anonymity on any cell network given todays tracking methods and key loggers that are placed at low software levels beyond any user complied crypto app.
        The only way to keep mail, digital documents, text mes
        • basically you are saying that you'd have to treat the cell phone as simple a transport, only, and never a data entry or even data display device. it should not even be part of any encryption system other than normal cell or wifi. assume its weak and just consider it like UDP (lol). do all your data entry, display and encryption outside of the phone and the phone simply gives you a wifi AP.

          if you think about it, that's a huge waste. such power and display, being ignored and using it just to convert cell

          • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
            Re "it still means you need 2 boxes. but really, since one box (the cell part) will never be 'ours' or trustable, might as well make it its own separate box, create an IP boundary and talk just IP."
            Or just pen and paper to create the encoded message :) Enter the message and be seen with normal fancy hardware
            The next question is how good is the filtering of all data at a city, state or federal level for all free, open source, commercial encryption use or interest.
            A city/state based journalist shows an i
  • unusual politics (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08, 2015 @08:13PM (#50690393)

    The most interesting thing about this news item is we have both blue Democratic as well as Red Republican states enacting electronic privacy laws. So here is at least one issue that apparently cuts across the usual liberal - conservative boundaries.

  • The state passes a law requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant before collecting electronic evidence against you, so what happens if an agent of the federal government violates that law? As I understand our federal system even federal agents cannot break state law. Realistically though I doubt heavily that any federal agent is going to get arrested under this law.

    Curious though, states seem quite willing to break federal law by passing laws legalizing the trade and consumption of marijuana. The federal government has chosen to yield to state laws on this part of law. Perhaps the feds will also recognize state authority on the search and seizure of electronic evidence?

    Right, I don't think so either.

    • by swell ( 195815 )

      Can a state enforce a law against the feds? Ask also if a county or a city can enforce a law against the feds. Where does jurisdiction begin and end? Can you and I as free citizens enforce a law within our home, papers and personal space against the feds?

      • Of course a state can enforce its laws against the Feds.

        Local police can issue parking tickets to or tow Federal vehicles, even those with Federal plates.

        Federal vehicles must be registered to some state, and must meet the safety/emissions inspections laws of that state (e.g. Federal agencies can't buy non-California certified models to be registered in California). Similarly, states have sued and won Federal agency compliance/cleanup of environmental hazards per state, not Federal, standards law (federal l

        • Yeah but, while I guess a lot of data is stored in California the NSA is not headquartered there. So what can the state do if the NSA is disobeying it? That's not so clear to me.

        • by Drathos ( 1092 )

          Maybe it's different on that side of the country, but around here, the feds (FBI, Secret Service, DHS, etc.) drive vehicles with "US Government" tags, not state issued tags. As far as I know, they're not actually registered with the state.

    • The Federal government is trampling on state rights by legislating in areas where they have no constitutionally mandated powers. Legality of drugs is clearly a state right. I think the feds will handle spying behind closed doors, and publicly let the states have their way.
    • by kuzb ( 724081 )

      That's not true. When a state law and a federal law conflict, federal law wins.

      See: []

      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        Right. Federal law and precedent says so.

        • According to the ten amendment it doesn't.

          Sadly federal bullying of state financing says otherwise. When the federal IRS takes 20% or some of my income and my state takes 5%.

          The federal government then says, state this is what is going to happen otherwise you won't get this federal funding, ie you need this legal drinking age or this speed limit or you won't get the federal funding for road repairs.

          Ideally this should be the other way around where the state funds itself, though ironically this would screw

      • Yeah, we had a bit of disagreement about that initially but it was settled pretty firmly in 1865.
      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        Yes, but if the Feds are acting legally due to the lack of a federal law against it rather than under a federal law that expressly permits their action, then the state law will apply.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Placing limits on law enforcement with regard to digital snooping doesn't work when police both at the individual and agency level do not ever suffer consequences for violating the law.

    In the case of the individual officer, the only limits on them are technical ones, such as in the case of an encrypted device. After detaining a person, the individual LEO might ask to see the suspect's phone. The LEO will state or imply that the detained person will be in a world of shit if they don't comply. A witness co

  • As long as federal law trumps state law, you aren't protected.

  • Does this also include an exemption for the ubiquitous NSA/DHS hovering up of metadata, arguably the bigger problem here. If not how does CA expect to enforce its rules over data that leaves or enters CA soil, which is substantial?

  • Thank you! I would prefer this enshrined as a constitutional right rather than a legislative one, but it's a start.

    Ideally, have an amendment stating one's papers w r t the 4th Amendment, shall include but not be limited to electronic records, data storage, and transmissions wherever they may occur.

    This could conceivably happen via Supreme Court decision as they love "evolving standards and expectations" to alter what is and is not constitutional for the government to do. Current warrantless invasiveness

  • by Anonymous Coward
    FOURTH AMENDMENT. It's simple. Quite simple.

    The fact that California thinks it necessary to pass a law for this at all indicates that things need to be done which I can't say for fear that our all-powerful masters in the government might do bad things to me. Thinks about it; we can't even criticize the government for violating the rights that we already had.

    "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise" - Voltaire

    Think not "Oh, how wonderful that California is now requiring warrants!" that's like thinking "Oh, how wonderful that California has now made murder

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva