Model Legislation

Contact your state rep AND senator and urge them to introduce these pieces of legislation. You can find contact information at:

1. 4th Amendment Protection Act. (Model legislation here, pdf) Our signature model legislation, the 4th Amendment Protection Act, would ban a state from taking actions which provide “material support” or assistance to warrantless federal spying programs. This includes provisioning of resources, and banning the state from using data obtained without warrant in state court.

States should pass this legislation whether they have a physical NSA facility or not, banning the warrantless data in court will have an immediate effect. And, since the NSA rarely publicizes its plans in advance, it’s essential to ensure that their ability to expand with more data center facilities around the country is restricted before they get off the ground.

2. Electronic Data Privacy Act (Model legislation here, pdf)

Take a first step against the NSA by addressing a practical effect of federal spying.

According to documents obtained by the Reuters, the NSA passes information to police through a formerly secret DEA unit known as the Special Operations Division (SOD) and the cases “rarely involve national security issues.” The feds then encourage prosecutors to use the warrantless information to build cases without revealing its origin in a process known as “parallel construction.” Former NSA Chief Technical Director William Binney called this the country’s “greatest threat since the Civil War.”

A new Oregon law prohibits state and local law enforcement officers from using ”forensic imaging” to obtain information contained in a portable electronic device except with a warrant, or by consent.

A similar law in New Hampshire prohibits law enforcement from obtaining location data from electronic devices without a warrant. And California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a sweeping privacy bill into law requiring a court ordered warrant or subpoena before law enforcement agencies can obtain or access electronic communication information or electronic device information from individuals or third-party providers.

These states followed the lead of Utah after Gov. Gary Herbert signed HB0128 in 2014. The law prohibits Utah law enforcement from obtaining phone location data without a warrant and makes any electronic data obtained by law enforcement without a warrant inadmissible in a criminal proceeding.

Stingrays are portable devices used for cell phone surveillance. They essentially spoof cell phone towers, tricking any device within range into connecting to the stingray instead of the tower, allowing law enforcement to sweep up all communications content within range of that tower. The stingray will also locate and track any person in possession of a phone or other electronic device that tries to connect to the tower.

In 2015, Washington and California both passed legislation limiting the use of these devices within the state.

4. Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) (Bill from Minnesota, pdf here)

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the federal government, via the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), tracks the location of millions of vehicles through data provided by ALPRs operated on a state and local level. They’ve engaged in this for nearly eight years, all without a warrant, or even public notice of the policy.

Since most federal license plate tracking data comes from state and local law enforcement, laws banning or even restricting ALPR use are essential. As more states pass such laws, the end result becomes more clear. No data equals no federal license plate tracking program.

In 2015, Minnesota became the fourth state to place restrictions on the use of automatic license plate readers, or ALPRs, joining New Hampshire, Utah and Arkansas. These laws not only limit the use of these devices on a state and local level, but help nullify a federal license plate tracking program.

5. Local Ordinance to Limit Surveillance Technology (model legislation, pdf here)

More and more local law enforcement agencies are obtaining high-tech spy gear such as stingray devices, automatic license plate readers (ALPRs), sophisticated cameras and drones.

This local ordinance takes the first step toward limiting the unchecked use of surveillance technologies that violate basic privacy rights and feed into a broader national surveillance state. This proposed legislation requires law enforcement agencies to get the approval from their local governing body before obtaining equipment any type of surveillance technology.



10 thoughts on “Model Legislation

  1. Hawaii State Legislature goes into session on January 15th, this information would be helpful here before the session begins. Anybody from Hawaii reading this blog?

  2. Call your state rep and senator – urging them to get on board!

  3. […] rights to block NSA from doing what it’s tasked with doing, going so far as to provide model legislation which lawmakers can adapt to their individual […]


  5. go to: Click on the legislative tab. To find your representative click on House Rooster. Find your reps by district. Click on Senate rooster. Find your senator by district. Talk to representatives in both houses. If it is too late to introduce legislation in this year, then ask them to consider it for next legislative session. If they can still introduce it this year, let us know if they are on board!

  6. […] that’s our 4th Amendment Protection Act. And yes, those lobbying groups have been very aggressive in working to get them killed in Arizona, […]

  7. […] Michigan, and South Carolina, have introduced the 4th Amendment Protection Act, OffNow’s model state legislation. The law bans a state from providing material support—such as utilities—to NSA […]

  8. […] data. Turn It Off, a coalition of privacy rights organization including BORDC, has created examples of state level model legislation that would prevent state authorities from cooperating with warrantless […]

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