Hanni Fakhouri takes Governor Jerry Brown out to the shed for vetoing the location privacy law passed by the California legislature. Here’s part of the commentary:
For Governor Brown, it appears the “right balance” is to tip the scales decisively in favor of law enforcement. Because while vetoing SB 1434, Governor Brown did sign AB 2055, a competing bill sponsored by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and supported by almost every state law enforcement agency, which claims to “require the issuance of a search warrant before a law enforcement agency could obtain GPS location information from any electronic tracking device.”
Skeptical about a law enforcement sponsored bill claiming to protect privacy? You should be.As we explained to Governor Brown, AB 2055 doesn’t do anything at all.
AB 2055 is a narrow response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Jones, which held the Fourth Amendment required law enforcement to obtain a search warrant before installing a GPS device on a car. In theory, AB 2055 changes California law to explicitly permit law enforcement to apply to a judge for a search warrant to install a GPS device. But in fact, it does not require police to obtain a search warrant. It just says they can apply for one. So to the extent it attempts to codify Jones, it fails. And, more basically, there’s no need to codify Jones: the Supreme Court’s decision is the law and California law enforcement officials have to follow it, regardless of what state law says.
That’s not the only problem with AB 2055. That law only applies to GPS devices, and not the other myriad ways law enforcement can obtain location information without installing a GPS device.
Read it all on EFF