Privacy legislation gets a boost in 2014 session

In the 2014 legislative session, the ACLU of Indiana supported two bills protecting Hoosiers' privacy that were passed by the Indiana General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Mike Pence on March 26.

House Bill 1009, authored by State Representative Erich Koch (Republican), of Bedford, Ind., requires police to obtain a search warrant for data collection and surveillance by means of cell phones, geolocation by tracking devices, and use of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. The law also prohibits law enforcement from compelling a person to provide passwords for personal electronic devices without a search warrant, and in most cases, from using real-time tracking through a person's cell phone.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...."

The bill urged the legislative council to assign the topic of digital privacy to a summer study committee to explore: (1) issues related to searches of electronic devices, compelling the disclosure of electronic user data, the collection and use of geolocation information, and the collection and use of biometric information by government agencies; and (2) any other issue concerning digital privacy and related subjects.

House Bill 1384, authored by State Representative Mike Speedy (Republican), of Indianapolis, prohibits the police from downloading cell phone data during stops for minor violations, including using a cell phone to text while driving. Several exceptions apply, including an officer's belief that the person has committed a crime or probable cause that the device was used to commit a crime.

The ACLU of Indiana supports the efforts of lawmakers and others to protect Hoosiers' privacy, which is at the heart of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Click here to see which privacy bills we are following in the 2015 legislative session