Does Your State Protect Your Privacy in the Digital Age?

New technologies make it possible for state and local law enforcement agencies to engage in surveillance that used to be prohibitively expensive and/or effectively impossible. The ACLU has been working with legislators across the country to put in place rules to ensure that we can take advantage of these new technologies without becoming a surveillance society in which our every movements are tracked, monitored, and scrutinized by the authorities. Much of our work to that end focuses on: law enforcement access to electronic communications content, location tracking, automatic license plate readers, and domestic surveillance drones.

If we can address these four issue areas, we will go a long way toward protecting privacy in the digital age. This map provides a snapshot of the states that have already provided privacy protections for some or all of them. Of course, the devil is in the details of these laws, and we encourage you to review the bill text or to check out the ACLU’s blog for more information on just how much protection there is in your state.

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Alaska

No additional state-level privacy

Arizona

No additional state-level privacy

California

No additional state-level privacy

Connecticut

No additional state-level privacy

Delaware

No additional state-level privacy

Hawaii

No additional state-level privacy

Kansas

No additional state-level privacy

Kentucky

No additional state-level privacy

Louisiana

No additional state-level privacy

Michigan

No additional state-level privacy

Missouri

No additional state-level privacy

Mississippi

No additional state-level privacy

North Dakota

No additional state-level privacy

Nebraska

No additional state-level privacy

New Mexico

No additional state-level privacy

Nevada

No additional state-level privacy

New York

No additional state-level privacy

Ohio

No additional state-level privacy

Oklahoma

No additional state-level privacy

Pennsylvania

No additional state-level privacy

Rhode Island

No additional state-level privacy

South Carolina

No additional state-level privacy

South Dakota

No additional state-level privacy

Washington

No additional state-level privacy

West Virginia

No additional state-level privacy

Wyoming

No additional state-level privacy

Washington, DC

No additional state-level privacy

Arkansas

Privacy protections for license plate reader data

Legislation enacted in 2013 imposing a 150-day data retention limit for Automatic License Plate Reader data.

New Hampshire

Privacy protections for license plate reader data

Legislation enacted in 2013 to ban Automatic License Plate Readers.

Vermont

Privacy protections for license plate reader data

Legislation enacted in 2013 imposing an 18-month data retention limit for Automatic License Plate Reader data (sunsets in July 2015).

Alabama

Privacy protections for location information

The Federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled in 2014 that police need a warrant to obtain historical cell phone location information from a cell service provider.

Colorado

Privacy protections for location information

Legislation enacted in 2014 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before obtaining location information in a criminal investigation.

Georgia

Privacy protections for location information

The Federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled in 2014 that police need a warrant to obtain historical cell phone location information from a cell service provider.

Massachusetts

Privacy protections for location information

The Massachussetts Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that a warrant will often be required when local or state police attempt to track cell phones.

Minnesota

Privacy protections for location information

Legislation enacted in 2014 to require law enforcement to get a warrant before obtaining location information in a criminal investigation

New Jersey

Privacy protections for location information

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that law enforcement must obtain a warrant before obtaining cell phone location information in a criminal investigation.

Iowa

Privacy protections from drone surveillance

Legislation enacted in 2014 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before using a drone in a criminal investigation.

Idaho

Privacy protections from drone surveillance

Legislation enacted in 2013 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before using a drone in a criminal investigation.

Illinois

Privacy protections in two issue areas

Legislation enacted in 2013 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before using a drone in a criminal investigation.

Legislation enacted in 2014 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before tracking real-time location information.

North Carolina

Privacy protections from drone surveillance

Two-year moratorium on domestic drone use by law enforcement enacted in 2013.

Oregon

Privacy protections from drone surveillance

Legislation enacted in 2013 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before using a drone in a criminal investigation.

Florida

Privacy protections in two issue areas

Legislation enacted in 2013 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before using a drone in a criminal investigation.

The Federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled in 2014 that police need a warrant to obtain historical cell phone location information from a cell service provider.

Indiana

Privacy protections in two issue areas

Legislation enacted in 2014 to require law enforcement to obtain a probable cause warrant before tracking real-time location in a criminal investigation or conducting drone surveillance in a criminal investigation.

Maryland

Privacy protections in two issue areas

Legislation enacted in 2014 to require law enforcement to obtain a probable cause warrant before tracking real-time location in a criminal investigation.

Legislation enacted in 2014 to require law enforcement to get a probable casue warrant before access electronic communications content regardless of its age or where it is stored.

Montana

Privacy protections in two issue areas

Legislation enacted in 2013 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before obtaining location information in a criminal investigation.

Legislation enacted in 2013 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before using a drone in a criminal investigation.

Texas

Privacy protections in two issue areas

Legislation enacted in 2013 to require law enforcement to obtain a probable cause warrant before accessing electronic communications content regardless of its age or where it is stored

Legislation enacted in 2013 that provides insufficient privacy protections against unfettered law enforcement use of surveillance drones.

Virginia

Privacy protections in two issue areas

Legislation enacted in 2014 to require law enforcement to obtain a probable cause warrant before tracking real-time location in a criminal investigation.

Two-year moratorium on domestic drone use by law enforcement enacted in 2013.

Wisconsin

Privacy protections in two issue areas

Legislation enacted in 2014 to provide some privacy protections for location information.

Legislation enacted in 2014 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before using a drone in a criminal investigation.

Maine

Privacy protections in three or more issue areas

Legislation enacted in 2013 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before obtaining location information in a criminal investigation.

Legislation enacted in 2013 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before accessing electronic communications content created on an portable electronic device.

Legislation enacted in 2009 imposing a 21-day data retention limit for Automatic License Plate Reader data.

Tennessee

Privacy protections in three or more issue areas

Legislation enacted in 2014 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before obtaining a narrow class of location information.

Legislation enacted in 2013 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before using a drone in a criminal investigation.

Legislation enacted in 2014 imposing a 90-day data retention limit for Automatic License Plate Reader data.

Utah

Privacy protections in three or more issue areas

Legislation enacted in 2014 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before obtaining location information in a criminal investigation and before accessing electronic communications and data regardless of age or where they are stored.

Legislation enacted in 2014 to require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before using a drone in a criminal investigation.

Legislation enacted in 2013 imposing a 9-month data retention limit for Automatic License Plate Reader data.

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