#TakeCTRL: Nationwide Privacy Push

As technology advances at breakneck speed, it’s leaving our privacy laws in the dust. As a result, corporations and governments can often gain easy access to ordinary citizens’ personal data, without our knowledge and consent.

On January 20, 2016, a diverse coalition of elected officials and citizens from across the country came together to demand a privacy upgrade. This coordinated, bipartisan effort introduced bills in 16 states and the District of Columbia to empower Americans, from Hawaii to New Hampshire and in between, to take control of their personal privacy in the digital age. As this nationwide privacy push clearly demonstrates, where Congress is unwilling or unable to act to protect Americans’ privacy, the states are more than willing to step up and fill the void.

Hover over the blue states to see the bills introduced in each one. Click on each one to see more information.

Click any highlighted state to learn more
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Alaska

Nationwide Privacy

Student Data Privacy: Student social media (HB 285)
Employee Data Privacy: Employee social media (HB 284)

Alabama

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Student Data Privacy: Student information systems (HB 267)

Connecticut

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Student Data Privacy: Omnibus bill
Personal data privacy: State ECPA (HB 5640)

Washington, D.C.

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Student Data Privacy: Omnibus & social media (B21-0578)

Hawaii

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Student Data Privacy: Omnibus bill
Employee Data Privacy: Employee social media (HB 1739)

Illinois

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Location Tracking: Cell site simulators HB 4470

Massachussetts

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Personal Data Privacy/Location Tracking: Electronic Privacy Act
S 903
H 1531

Michigan

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Location tracking: Automatic license plate readers
Location tracking: Cell site simulators
Employee Data Privacy: Employee social media

Minnesota

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Student Data Privacy: Student information systems (HF 2889)
Student Data Privacy: 1:1 device programs (HF 2898)
Student Data Privacy: Personal technology on campus (HF 2900)
Student Data Privacy: Student social media (HF 2386 and SF 2705)
Employee Data Privacy: Employee social media (HF 2385 and SF 2703)
Personal Data Privacy: StateECPA (HF 2668 and SF 2704)

Missouri

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Student Data Privacy/Employee Privacy: Student/employee social media (HB1735)

Nebraska

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Employee Data Privacy: Employee social media (LB 821)
Location Tracking: Automatic license plate readers (LB 831)
Location Tracking: Cell site simulators (LB 738)
Student Data Privacy: Student Information Systems (LB 692)

New Hampshire

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Personal Data Privacy:Personal information privacy (HB 1494)
Personal Data Privacy:Personal materials privacy (HB 1496)

New Mexico

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Personal Data Privacy: StateECPA (SB 154)

New York

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Personal Data Privacy: StateECPA (A. 9235)

North Carolina

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Student Data Privacy/Employee Privacy/Personal Data Privacy: Student and employee social media and electronic communications privacy

Virginia

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Personal Data Privacy: StateECPA(HB 1332 and SB 599)

Student Data Privacy: Student social media (SB 438 - passed)

West Virginia

Nationwide Privacy Legislation

Employee Data Privacy: Employee social media (HB 4364 - passed)

The bills introduced on January 20 fall into the following categories:

1.Personal Data Privacy – StateECPA (Electronic Content Privacy Act)

Federal laws protecting the content of Americans’ private electronic communications, which date back to the mid-1980s, are so antiquated that they simply are not up to the task of protecting Americans’ privacy more than 15 years into the 21st century. For example, due to the technological methods by which email was accessed and reviewed in the 1980s, under federal law, any emails that are more than 180 days old are considered “abandoned” and law enforcement does not need a warrant to read them. These bills empower states to provide reasonable privacy protections for their citizens’ emails and other electronic information where federal law has failed to do so.

2.Location Tracking – Cell Site Simulators:

Cell site simulators, which are often referred to by the brand name StingRay, are devices that trick cell phones into revealing their location and other information to the simulator device. While StingRays hold value as a law enforcement tool, they can sweep in cell phone data from hundreds if not thousands of other phones that are not part of an investigation. These bills make sure that StingRays cannot be used to indiscriminately gather and retain location and other electronic information from large numbers of people’s cell phones “just in case” one or more of them is doing or might someday do something wrong.

3.Location Tracking – Automatic License Plate Readers

State and local government agencies are increasingly deploying devices called automatic license plate readers, which are capable of reading the license plate of every vehicle that drives by their lens, to monitor and record vehicle locations. While ALPRs have many beneficial uses, ranging from toll collection to locating cars involved in child kidnappings, they also have the collective ability to record the locations every car has traveled to in a town, city, or state for months or even years.  Because creating a record of where people travel can reveal highly personal information – such as whether a person sees a psychiatrist, attends AA meetings, goes to particular religious or political meetings, or is having an affair – these bills seek to ensure that, absent a warrant, ALPR records of the whereabouts of citizens who are not suspected of a crime are deleted within a short period of time.

4.Employee Data Privacy – Employee Social Media Privacy

Americans today are as likely to use a social media account to communicate their ideas to a selective audience they were to use a telephone a generation ago.  This vibrant forum for the exchange of ideas and personal information will be compromised if employees and prospective employees know they may be forced to provide employers with access to their personal social media accounts. These bills prohibit employers from forcing or coercing their employees or job applicants into providing access to their personal social media accounts, except under a limited set of specifically defined circumstances.

5.Student Data Privacy – Student Social Media Privacy

 Students today use social media to communicate their ideas to a selective audience the way students a generation ago used the telephone. This vibrant forum for the exchange of ideas and personal information will be compromised if students know they may be forced to provide teachers and other school officials with access to their personal social media accounts. These bills prohibit school officials from forcing or coercing students into providing access to their personal social media accounts, except under a limited set of specifically defined circumstances.

6.Student Data Privacy – Student Personal Technology on Campus

Students today are as likely to carry a personal technology device, such as a cell phone or tablet computer, as they are to carry a pen. When these devices are brought to campus, even when doing so violates a school policy, the information on those devices should receive the same legal protections as they are afforded off-campus. While recognizing that schools need to be able to take reasonable steps to investigate and enforce violations of school policies on campus, these model bills ensure that where a student is suspected of criminal activity, the student’s legal and Constitutional rights are protected.

7.Student Data Privacy – 1-to-1 Device Privacy

An increasing number of schools today are participating in “1-to-1” technology programs where a third party provides free laptops or tablet computers to students for the school year. While these programs are highly beneficial, they also enable third party device providers and school officials to track and monitor everything a student does with the device without the children’s parents ever knowing, including remotely activating the device’s webcam and reviewing its Internet search history. These bills are designed to retain the benefits of 1-to-1 device programs, while empowering parents and students, free of any coercion, to reasonably restrict who has access to the 1-to-1 device and the sensitive and personal information that may be on it.

8.Student Data Privacy: Student Information Systems Privacy

In today’s schools, the highly sensitive and personal student information that used to be stored in a file cabinet in the principal’s office is now being uploaded on to remote third party servers called “student information systems” (“SIS”).  Despite the sensitivity of this information – which includes students’ grades, social security numbers, disability status, and information on whether they have been disciplined, received remedial help, or qualify for free lunch – limitations on access to and use of this information by third parties operating the information systems are frequently weak or non-existent. That means that private corporations often have easy access to the information without the children’s parents ever knowing about it. These model bills are designed to retain the benefits of SIS while empowering parents and students to reasonably restrict access to and use of their personal information.

9.Student Data Privacy: Omnibus Bill

Omnibus student data privacy bills cover two or more of the following subjects: student information system privacy, 1-to-1 device privacy, student personal technology on campus, and student social media privacy.

10.Student Data Privacy/Employee Data Privacy: Student/Employee Social Media Privacy

These bills provide the social media privacy protections covered by the student social media privacy and employee social media privacy bills.

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