LINCOLN, Neb. (Jan. 25, 2016) – Last week, an important Nebraska committee held a hearing on two bills that would protect privacy and hinder some federal surveillance programs.
LB738 would completely ban law enforcement agencies in the state from purchasing and using cell-site simulator technology or devices. Any law enforcement agency already in possession of cell-site simulator technology or devices would have to discontinue their use and discard the technology or devices. (Read the full bill report HERE.)
LB831 would restrict the use of ALPRs to specific law enforcement functions, and place strict limits on the storage and sharing of any data collected by such systems. (Read the full bill report HERE.)
The Judiciary Committee took up both bills on Jan. 21. Sen. Laura Ebke serves as the sponsor of LB738. She told the committee the process of cautious regulation and liberty sensitive oversight needs to begin with a general prohibition, allowing for future legislatures to allow for permissible uses with proper safeguards as the technology develops.
“The tracking of people’s location constitutes a significant invasion of privacy, which can reveal many things about their lives, such as what friends, doctors, protests, meetings, political activities, or religious institutions a person visits.”
Ebke seemed optimistic her bill would move out of committee with a few tweaks. In a tweet after the hearing, she said there was good discussion on all sides.
@TenthAmendment Stingray hearing had good discussion on all sides. We may have a few tweaks before the committee moves it out.
— SenatorLauraEbke (@SenLauraEbke) January 22, 2016
LB738 picked up another cosponsor after the hearing. Sen. Ernie Chambers (I-Omaha) added his name to the bill on Jan. 22.
Neither bill has received a committee vote at this time. Public pressure could play an important role in moving both bills forward. Follow the steps below to support this important privacy legislation.