Learn more about privacy legislation during the 2014 General Assembly


CONTACT: Meredith Curtis, ACLU of Maryland, 410-889-8555, media@aclu-md.org

Sara Love, Public Policy Director, 703-963-2710, love@aclu-md.org

ANNAPOLIS - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland on Tuesday joined Senators Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery) and Christopher Shank (R-Washington) to highlight a privacy agenda for the 2014 General Assembly that includes legislation to set parameters on law enforcement's use of email surveillance, location tracking, drones, and automatic license plate readers. Technology is rapidly advancing. Law enforcement and government officials can - and should - be able to take advantage of these advancements without invading people's privacy.

House cosponsors of the bills include Delegates Alfred Carr (D-Montgomery), Samuel Rosenberg (D-Baltimore City), Michael Smigiel (R-Caroline, Cecil, Kent & Queen Anne's), and Jeffrey Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery).

Privacy legislation overview:

  • Email surveillance. Legislation to require that law enforcement go before a neutral arbiter and prove that the information they are obtaining is likely to turn up evidence of a crime before intercepting and accessing online data.
  • Location Tracking. Legislation to require that law enforcement get a warrant based on probable cause prior to obtaining mobile phone tracking information.
  • Drones.Legislation to impose limits and regulations on aerial surveillance that would protect against police fishing expeditions, and abusive use of these tools.
  • Automatic License Plate Recorders. Legislation that would keep law enforcement from storing records of license plates and locations that are not ‘hits' against any database.

"These technologies have legitimate law enforcement purposes but, in the absence of any rules governing their usage, they are fast becoming tools for routing mass tracking and surveillance," said Sen. Jamie Raskin. "The government simply must not snoop into our email, spy on us with drones, or track us using our cellphones without a search warrant."

"Law enforcement needs to be able to use new technologies to protect public safety, but they also need to operate with procedural safeguards that protect our liberties," said Sen. Christopher Shank. "Upholding the standard of probable cause for searches will ensure law enforcement has the tools they need without diminishing the rights of citizens." 

The ACLU supports Sens. Raskin and Shank in the belief that this package of bills would help ensure that Marylanders can be both safe and free. 

"Maryland leaders from across the political spectrum understand that Americans do not have to choose between being safe and being free," said Sara Love, Public Policy Director for the ACLU of Maryland. "It is time for sensible, constitutional protections that limit the government's ability to conduct surveillance and retain private data about where we go, who we talk to, and what we do without individualized suspicion that we have committed a crime."



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