A new effort launches this week at the state Capitol to make it illegal for a police officer in California to search a smartphone, computer or tablet without a warrant -- and this effort has the backing of the tech industry.
The bill will be introduced on Monday by state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers. It's backed by Google, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, Microsoft and other tech companies, as well as civil liberties and privacy advocates. The proposed law "protects all electronic communications, including personal messages, passwords and PIN numbers, GPS data, photos, medical and financial information, contacts and metadata," said Leno in an interview on Friday.
Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed similar bills by Leno before. But the San Francisco senator said he thinks this comprehensive approach will be harder for the governor to oppose -- even though Leno acknowledged that law enforcement groups are likely to fight it hard.
In part, he said, that's because the narrative has shifted: The U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in, siding with privacy advocates in ruling that law enforcement should secure a warrant before searching a cellphone. Fifteen other states have passed similar laws.
"Privacy is not a partisan issue," said Leno. "We didn't pursue all this corporate support the last time, but it makes sense this time. And it's good for tech companies."