California considers a new law to require a warrant for the search of electronic devices


Shaun Nichols reports on the Register website that California State Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco, has put forward a bill that would make police searches of electronic devices subject to the same controls as filing cabinets, drawers and other physical objects.

The bill would require the authorities to obtain a search warrant before they can pull information off computers, Smartphone or other electronic devices.

In introducing his bill Leno said,

The personal files in your desk drawer at home cannot be seized without a warrant, but the digital files on your Smartphone and tablet, no matter how sensitive, do not have the same protection.  This bill strikes the right balance between safeguarding Californians against improper government intrusion of their electronic data and protecting the right of law enforcement to use technology when it is needed to protect public safety.”

If the law is passed, California will join a list of over a dozen other US states that have passed laws providing greater protection for electronic information.

A link to the bill can be found here.