Friday, March 22, 2013

Zombie Privacy Bills Struggle to Become Laws

Just two days after new legislative reform on e-mail privacy was re-introduced in Congress, another privacy bill was brought back from years past.

On Thursday, three members of the House (two Republicans and a Democrat) and two bipartisan senators introduced the GPS Act, which would require law enforcement to obtain a probable cause-driven warrant before accessing a suspect’s geolocation information. The bill had originally been introduced nearly two years ago by the same group of legislators. 
The new GPS bill as it stands (PDF) contains exceptions for emergencies, including "national security" under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but otherwise requires a warrant for covert government-issued tracking devices. The proposed penalty for violating this new provision could come with fines and/or five years in prison.