New privacy law for wireless protection

IMG_5622By Marco Montoya |Staff Writer|

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA) on Oct. 8.
California is the third state in the nation behind Maine and Utah to authorize the act which enforces strict privacy policies on electronic devices.
According to The Associated Press (AP), police will be required to get a court order to search computers or company phones, messages, emails or photos. stated information including date, time, recipient, sender and format will now have to be put through the longer process of getting a warrant from a judge if police wish to retrieve it.
Subpoenas will allow some information to be accessed, but only under prior law and if the information is not going to be used for the prosecution of an individual.
Tech companies, digital rights groups and news companies campaigned for the bill due to the lack of digital enforcement laws not being changed since 1980, according to the AP.
CalECPA will also restrict law officials to use smartphones or tablets to obtain information.
However, if a device is lost or stolen, police can access brief information to verify or contact the rightful owner, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“The first thing that came to my mind was actually that! What if my phone is stolen and I could easily prove it’s mine with some photos inside it? If the police need to go through a longer process, I would never get my phone back. So, it’s a good thing they made some exceptions,” said student Eduardo Gonzales.
These warrants restrict law enforcement to search electronic equipment, and do not apply to searches of homes or businesses. stated, any information that does not relate with the court case must be sealed and not subject to further review without its own separate additional court order.
The information found on a suspects electronics can also be destroyed or erased after use if the court orders to do so.
CalECPA also requires officials to notify a person if their information is being used. This notification can be delayed if the court believes that alternate events might occur due to it, according to
Although these supporters argue that the development of technology throughout the years calls for new rules, law enforcement officials believe they need to be able to be granted access to the devices, according to the AP.
“This comes off like its an advantage to people right off the bat because everyone likes their privacy, but if you think about it, it’s kind of alarming as well because the police have to go through a longer process just to get simple information that might help in the prosecution of criminals,” said student Christina Ramos.

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