In the wake of the NSA revelations, there has been an avalanche of state bills requiring law enforcement to obtain a probable cause warrant before tracking an individual’s location in an investigation. Most state legislators know they can’t control the NSA—but they can control their state and local law enforcement, which are engaging in some of the same invasive practices. The trend actually started in the wake of the ACLU’s nationwide public records requests on location tracking and the 2012 U.S. v. Jones decision, when Montana and Maine enacted the first two location tracking laws in the country—the recent revelations have simply increased the momentum.
Working closely with our lobbyists in state capitols around the country, we’ve been tracking this activity and working hard to make sure these privacy-protective bills become law. The chart below shows the current status of state legislation as we understand it. We will keep this chart up-to-date as we receive new information.
2014 legislation proposed in 11 states and laws enacted in 11 states.
|Colorado||Law (2014)||Passed Senate unanimously|
|Illinois||Law (2014)||Only covers real-time location information. Passed Senate unanimously.|
|Indiana||Law (2014)||Only covers real-time location information, but also requires a warrant for drone use and for electronic device searches.|
|Iowa||Law (2014)||Applies only to GPS tracking.|
|Kansas||Legislature adjourned.||Covers all third-party held data.|
|Maryland||Law (2014)||Only covers real-time location information.|
|Massachusetts||Also requires a warrant for electronic communications content.|
|Michigan||Introduced||Legislation focused on the use of StingRays.|
|Missouri||Passed the House and Senate; awaiting governor's action.||Bill amended in the Senate to allow location tracking under a less protective legal standard.|
|New Hampshire||Passed House. Senate Committee referred for interim study (dead for this year)|
|Ohio||Passed the Senate|
|Oklahoma||Dead for this year|
|South Carolina||Passed the House. Legislature adjourned without further action.||Also covers law enforcement access to electronic communications content.|
|Tennessee||Law (2014)||Amended to undermine all privacy protections in the bill.|
|Utah||Law (2014)||Also requires a warrant for electronic communications content.|
|Virginia||Law (2014)||Only covers real-time location information.|
|West Virginia||Legislature adjourned|
|Wisconsin||Law (2014)||The bill allows location tracking under a less protective legal standard.|