INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Police would have to get a search warrant before they could take data off of
cellphones or computer tablets or use aerial drones under bills that are
still breathing in the Indiana General Assembly.
simply requires a court warrant. One bill that would have made electronic
eavesdropping without a court warrant a felony died in a Senate committee.
government surveillance have increased since National Security Agency
analyst Eric Snowden revealed that a program in which that agency sweeps up
information about millions of Americans’ phone calls, including the number
called from, the number called and the duration of the call.
“I think with the
revelations from Eric Snowden, what NSA regulates ... I think there is much
greater focus on the citizens’ privacy than probably any time in recent
history,” said Sen. Brent Waltz, R-Greenwood.
lawmakers are also concerned about the government using drones.
“I remember a
conversation about drones a few years ago, that it would be a very long time
before we had to worry about these things to come. And it didn’t take very
many years,” Waltz said.
mentioned in a bill sponsored by Rep. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, which covers a
wide range of digital uses, ranging from passwords and police use of GPS to
“I tried to pick on
as many different areas as I could,” while avoiding “unintended
consequences,” Koch said.
He said his bill
had support from law enforcement agencies. An Indiana State Police spokesman
said the agency doesn’t comment on pending legislation, and the director of
the Indiana Sheriffs Association didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.
Koch said he
doesn’t know if any police agencies in Indiana use drones, but he wants
rules in place when they do.
Koch’s bill, which
asks for a summer study committee, has been passed by the House and sent to
the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Waltz’s bill, which
moved the other direction - from the House to a Senate committee - would
require police officers to have a search warrant or probable cause to
extract data from cellphones to prove a motorist was illegally texting while
Waltz said two
police agencies in Indiana use devices that detract such information, but he
declined to identify those agencies. His main concern, he said, is with
police intercepting cell calls without a court order.
Sen. Mike Delph,
R-Carmel, authored a bill that would have made it a felony to search or
seize any “electronic communication” without a warrant. His bill died in a
Delph believes the
issue goes back all the way to the passage of the Patriot Act after the 9/11
“The idea was to go
after the bad guys. Now it seems we’re after the bad guys and the good guys.
We’re going after every guy,” he said.