Lawmakers Consider Updating Privacy Laws To Protect Online Users
April 14, 2011 by Special To Personal Liberty
The California Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation that would require government agencies to acquire a warrant before accessing consumers' reading records.
According to the Central Valley Business Times, the State Senate bill is designed to update California's privacy law to protect online shoppers. The measure is sponsored by State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) and supported by the California Affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union, Electric Frontier Foundation and Google.
Considering that digital books now outsell paperbacks, supporters of the legislation say that it is necessary to update the law to meet 21st century standards.
"Individuals should be free to buy books without fear of government intrusion and witch hunts," said Yee, quoted by the news source. "If law enforcement has reason to suspect wrongdoing, they can obtain a warrant for such information."
At the Federal level, lawmakers are considering an amendment to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act that would grant more privacy to mobile and cloud computing users. Last week, the United States Justice Department warned that updating the law would hinder police investigations, according to CNET.com.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also opposes the amendment, saying that it could limit law enforcement's ability to "catch criminals and terrorists who use electronic communication," quoted by the media outlet.