Hot! California’s Data Privacy Law Put Australia to Shame

California now has, according to Wired, “the nation’s best digital privacy law.”


California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a law protecting digital privacy rights.

Image Credit: Just Grimes (Flickr)

Image Credit: Just Grimes (Flickr)

In California, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act bars any state law officials from requesting a business to hand over any metadata or digital communications including emails, texts and documents stored in the cloud without a warrant.

The American Civil Liberties Union has described it as the “most comprehensive in the country.”

As Wired explains:

“Five other states have warrant protection for content, and nine others have warrant protection for GPS location tracking. But California is the first to enact a comprehensive law protecting location data, content, metadata and device searches.”

This is a move seemingly opposite to what is currently going on in Australia, which is opening up privacy barriers and making it easier for authorities to access the records. Authorities will now generally NOT be required to produce a warrant, a fact which has caused outrage among many citing this is an invasion of privacy.

Even Edward Snowdon joined the debate in Australia, tweeting: “Beginning today, if you are Australian, everything you do online is being tracked, stored, and retained for 2 years.”

The UK has recently adopted greater restrictions on data retention that are similar in nature to California’s new law.

Last year it attempted data retention strategies much like Australia is currently adopting, however in July 2015 these were struck down by the UK high court as being “unlawful.”

The British politicians who challenged the law argued that it allowed the police and security services to spy on citizens without sufficient privacy boundaries in place.

In other related news, Dutch artists have recently been celebrating George Orwell’s birthday in an unusual way – by putting party hats on surveillance cameras all over the town of Utrecht.

Inter Free Press (Flickr)

The artists were making a point about the extent to which our lives are being watched, and how privacy is largely a thing of the past – as was depicted in the authors novel 1984.

Although Orwell may have got the year wrong, his writing seems especially relevant today with so much of our lives invested in digital means. In California and the UK a warrant will be required to gain access to our digital lives. In Australia, it won’t.

Read more here.

Editorial comment: The problem in the USA is primarily at the federal level, with the NSA performing massive collection of data and allowing other agencies to use said data. As any criminal defense attorney can testify, police and feds often lie about how this information is obtained. Institutional perjury was been legitimized through the doctrine of parallel conspiration. Although California’s privacy laws are to be lauded, there is still much to overcome.

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