The omnibus judiciary and data practices bill would provide important safeguards protecting everyone’s civil liberties by restricting law enforcement surveillance of electronic communication data and evidence-gathering using drones.
The bill’s next stop is Gov. Tim Walz. It was passed 66-0 by the Senate May 4.
Under the bill, a law enforcement agency would be required to obtain a search warrant for the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle — or drone — unless an exception applies. Some of those would include:
The bill would also prohibit the use of facial recognition technology and data collection at public protests unless authorized by a warrant. It would require a law enforcement agency to document each use of an unmanned aerial vehicle, create a written policy for its use and collect public comment on its use. Drones could not be armed.
Warrant rules for electronic data collection
The legislation would require a government entity to obtain a search warrant prior to accessing electronic communication information, such as email and text messages, including the precise or approximate location of a sender or recipient at any point during a cellular communication.
Exceptions would be allowed if a person gives permission to a law enforcement agency to collect the data, or if “exigent circumstances exist where there is a danger to the life or physical safety of an individual.”
Under the bill, law enforcement agencies would have 90 days following the conclusion of an investigation to disclose to the subject of an electronic warrant: