We continue to hear more each week about how the National Security Agency is invading our privacy. Meanwhile, the Obama administration continues to defend the phone call tracking and online data sweeps.
While a recent report from the President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies takes the "collect-it-all" approach to task and makes important recommendations about what needs to be done to protect security and privacy, it remains to be seen if those changes will be implemented.
But in Montana, we're grateful that state legislators take privacy seriously. Even before Edward Snowden revealed the extent of NSA spying, Montana passed three huge privacy bills to protect us from intrusion at the state level.
Strip and body cavity searches - Perhaps the most egregious violation of a person's privacy, strip and body cavity searches had no limits under Montana Code until the Montana Legislature passed a bill this past session mandating, “A person arrested or detained for a traffic offense or an offense that is not a felony may not be subjected to a strip search or a body cavity search by a peace officer or law enforcement employee unless there is reasonable suspicion to believe the person is concealing a weapon, contraband, or evidence of the commission of a crime.”
Drones - Legislation passed in Montana this year prohibits any person or state or local law enforcement agency from using a drone for data collection over private property without a search warrant, exigent circumstances, or the consent of the landowner. Any information collected by using a drone without a warrant or consent would not be admissible in court or as the basis for obtaining a search warrant.
Mobile Device Location Tracking - Montana was the first state in the nation to pass a law to make a search warrant a requirement for the police to obtain cell phone tracking information.
Thank you Montana Legislature!