Utah: A Leader in Digital Privacy

Utah Gov. Herbert signed off this week on a bill that positions Utah as the state with the strongest data privacy laws in the country when it comes to law enforcement accessing electronic information. The bill, HB57, establishes that a warrant must be secured before law enforcement may access electronic data held by a third party, thus protecting information passed to a third party such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

Editor’s Note: Utah Gov. Herbert signed off this week on a bill that positions Utah as the state with the strongest data privacy laws in the country when it comes to law enforcement accessing electronic information. The bill, HB57, establishes that a warrant must be secured before law enforcement may access electronic data held by a third party, thus protecting information passed to a third party such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Provided below are three extracts and a copy of HB57 for your education.

Gov. Herbert Signs Bill Requiring Police To Obtain Search Warrants To Access Electronic Information

Extract from an article by Cara MacDonald published on KSL.com

Gov. Gary Herbert signed off on HB57 on Wednesday [March 27, 2019] designating Utah as the state with the strongest data privacy laws in the country when it comes to law enforcement accessing electronic information.

House Bill 57 modified provisions about privacy of electronic information and data for Utahns. Rep. Craig Hall, R-Utah, pitched the bill in order to require police to get search warrants before accessing Utahns’ electronic information, which up until this point has not been a necessity.

Specifically, HB0057 does the following:

  • Requires the issuance of a search warrant to obtain certain electronic information or data.
  • Necessitates that when someone’s electronic data or information has been obtained there will be notification.
  • Declares that electronic information and data obtained without a warrant be excluded from consideration in legal cases.
  • “Electronic information and data” was defined as being any information or data including a sign, signal, writing, image, sound, or intelligence of any nature transmitted or stored in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, or photo-optical system. The definition includes location information, stored data, and transmitted data of an electronic device.

“In particular it protects information that is passed on to a third party,” Hall said. “So, for example, if an individual decides to draft a document and they store it on their computer, then law enforcement would have to seek and obtain a warrant before that computer’s hard drive could be searched. But what happens if the individuals store their document with Dropbox or Google Drive? Well, in the past, law enforcement has not had the requirement to seek such information by warrant. This bill makes clear that the protections we have in the physical world are also given in the electronic world.”

The bill seeks to establish a reasonable expectation of privacy for electronic information and data that has been stored in digital devices or servers.

Read the complete article at Gov. Herbert Signs Bill Requiring Police To Obtain Search Warrants To Access Electronic Information

Utah Just Became A Leader In Digital Privacy

Extract from an article by Molly Davis as published in Wired

On March 12, Utah legislators voted unanimously to pass landmark legislation in support of a new privacy law that will protect private electronic data stored with third parties like Google or Facebook from free-range government access. The bill stipulates that law enforcement will be required to obtain a warrant before accessing “certain electronic information or data.” (Unlike consumer privacy laws, the bill does not give individuals the ability to see the information that companies collect on them, and doesn’t regulate how personal data is used internally.)

Utah Makes A Surprising Leader For Electronic Privacy

Extract from an article by Marina Lowe and Connor Boyack in the Deseret News

Utah is once again leading out, establishing through HB57 sponsored by Rep. Craig Hall, R-Dist. 33 — which passed unanimously — that a warrant must be secured before law enforcement may access electronic data held by a third party.

Why is this such a big deal? It is well established that law enforcement must seek and obtain a warrant before they can access the contents of your home or car or even your phone. But what about the electronic information that you transmit to a remote computing service? What about your electronic information when it is held by a third party, such as a cellphone service provider, photo sharing service, or social media company, as a necessary condition to operating? And what about the data created about us by companies with whom we interact?

Read the complete article at Utah Makes A Surprising Leader For Electronic Privacy

H.B. 57 – Electronic Information or Data Privacy Act (PDF)

HB0057

Additional Reading

Source: ComplexDiscovery