Utah house takes first step against the surveillance state. Passes bill 71-2

nsa-utah-data-030314While awaiting action on a bill to turn off the water to the NSA data center in Bluffdale, the Utah House wasted no time passing another bill designed to thwart the effects of other actions of the growing surveillance state. The vote was 71-2.

HB0128 would make any electronic data obtained by law enforcement inadmissible in a criminal proceeding. This includes data gathered by the NSA and shared through the super secret Special Operations Division (SOD) or fusion centers. The legislation also stops Utah law enforcement from obtaining phone location data without a warrant.

Except as provided in Subsection (1)(c), a government entity may not use, copy, or disclose, for any purpose, the location information, stored data, or transmitted data of an electronic device that is not the subject of the warrant that is collected as part of an effort to obtain the location information, stored data, or transmitted data of the electronic device that is the subject of the warrant in Subsection (1)(a).

HB0128 now moves on to the Senate for consideration.

Utah based Libertas Institute president Connor Boyack said the bill will codify important privacy protections into law.

“While the Fourth amendment protects our ‘effects’ from searches and seizure without a warrant, modern technology has outpaced its application. Police agencies around the country use tools and tactics that violate this constitutional guarantee in order to obtain the location or data of a cell phone or other digital device. HB128 statutorily makes clear that our digital property is part of our ‘effects’ that are to only be obtained with judicial oversight, a particular suspicion of crime, and a warrant,” he said.

This bill will not only protect people in Utah from warrantless data gathering by state and local law enforcement, it will also end some practical effects of unconstitutional data gathering by the federal government.

NSA collects, stores, and analyzes data on countless millions of people without a warrant, and without even the mere suspicion of criminal activity. We know that the NSA tracks the physical location of people through their cellphones. In late 2013, the Washington Post reported that NSA is “gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world.” This includes location data on “tens of millions” of Americans each year – without a warrant.

We know that, through fusion centers, state and local law enforcement act as information recipients from various federal departments under Information Sharing Environment (ISE). We also know that ISE partners include the Office of Director of National Intelligence, which is an umbrella covering 17 federal agencies and organizations, including the NSA. State and local law enforcement share data up the chain with the feds.

We also know that the NSA expressly shares warrantless data with state and local law enforcement through a super-secret DEA unit known as the Special Operations Division (SOD). We know that information is being used for criminal prosecutions. And, we know from a Reuters report that most of this shared data has absolutely nothing to do with national security issues. Most of it involves routine criminal investigations.

This data sharing shoves a dagger into the heart of the Fourth Amendment. HB0128 will prevent state law enforcement from gathering cell phone location data and sharing it up the chain, and it will make information vacuumed up by the feds and shared down the chain inadmissible in court, stopping a practical effect of NSA spying.

The legislation works hand-in-hand with the more well-known “4th Amendment Protection Act” introduced by Rep. Marc Roberts last month. HB161 would ban material support to the NSA’s new data center at Bluffdale. Supporters urge the rallying cry of “no water = no NSA data center” in support of the bill.  HB161 is expected to be referred to a house committee in the near future where public discussion and debate will begin.

ACTION ITEMS

If you live in Utah, click HERE to learn the next steps to take in support of HB0128 and HB161.

If you live outside of Utah, click HERE to find out how to fight the NSA’s unconstitutional spying in your state.

TAKE ACTION

Take these steps today to help stop NSA spying in your state

1. Get the model 4th Amendment Protection Act for your state (pdf):
HERE

2. Contact your STATE representative/assemblyperson AND State Senator. Strongly, but respectfully, encourage them to introduce the act for your state. A phone call is much more powerful than an email. Or do both. Contact info HERE.

3. Join the coalition. Are you part of a grassroots group? Encourage your group's leadership to sign on in support of the coalition here: http://offnow.org/coalition

4. Get Flyers to help spread the word!
Here: http://offnow.org/product/flyers-4th-amendment-protection-act/

4 Responses to “Utah house takes first step against the surveillance state. Passes bill 71-2”

  1. Sorry, As long as the NSA is allowed to remain open they will always find ways to get around these laws. They need to be closed. Period. There is no half and half here. These are the people that are getting paid to sit on their A*sses, downloading nude pictures from Yahoo chat, etc etc etc… There IS NOT ONE THING these people are doing to protect you. It’s completely the opposite, while you pay these low life animals to a superior income than your own.

    I’m so disgusted with this nation right now. The brainwashing is so thorough and almost complete that I know few people who even care that their intimate lives are being watched. People sure got vocal about stuff like Zimmerman’s case, etc. But when it comes to the massive lies out of the head of the NSA, who sat and lied openly to Congress and is still employed, Nobody cares….

    • Your comment appears to ignore the entire progress of history.

      It’s as if you went back in time to when humankind discovered fire and said “Look, unless you build electricity, you have no chance” – without recognizing that each step forward would lead to another…and another…and another.

      This bill is an important first step forward that Utah has taken. And, it isn’t requiring permission or help from the criminals in the NSA – or Congress.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Utah House of Rep. Passes Bill 71-2: NSA Surveillance inadmissable in criminal cases | Vaccine Liberation Army - March 4, 2014

    […] HB0128 would make any electronic data obtained by law enforcement inadmissible in a criminal proceeding. This includes data gathered by the NSA and shared through the super secret Special Operations Division (SOD) or fusion centers. The legislation also stops Utah law enforcement from obtaining phone location data without a warrant.  Read more… […]

  2. Morning Reads: Latest From Ukraine; Paul Ryan's 'Compassionate Conservatism' Con | Blog, News & Notes | BillMoyers.com - March 4, 2014

    […] Messing with the spies –> Utah lawmakers are considering a wide-ranging bill that would sharply limit the government’s ability to use surveillance data — from NSA and other agencies — in criminal prosecutions. Michael Maharrey with the details at Turn it Off (a privacy advocacy group). […]

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