Maine House Approves Warrant Requirements for Cell Phone Tracking

Affiliate: ACLU of Maine
May 31, 2013 2:52 pm

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ACLU of Maine Applauds Historic Decision to Protect Privacy of Mainers

May 29, 2013

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AUGUSTA, Maine – The Maine House of Representatives took a strong stand for privacy tonight by voting 113-28 in favor of LD 415, sponsored by Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta. The bill would require a warrant for law enforcement to engage in location tracking of cell phones and other GPS-enabled devices in non-emergency situations.

The amended bill waives the warrant requirement in emergencies and delays the notice requirement for 180 days at a time where notice would have an “adverse result” on the investigation. While some police departments around the country obtain a warrant before accessing an individual’s present or historical location information, there has been no statewide standard in Maine.

“With this historic vote, Maine’s representatives recognized that Mainers care deeply about their privacy and want to bring our laws up to speed with advancing technology,” said Shenna Bellows, executive director of the ACLU of Maine. “Today’s vote brings us one step closer to putting necessary privacy protections in place while allowing the police to protect our communities.”

Maine is poised to be the first state in the nation to pass a law requiring warrants for cell phone tracking. The Maine Senate voted in favor of the bill last week. It now goes back to the Senate for enactment.

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