Brandes bill would require warrants for cell phone searches

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Today, Senator Jeff Brandes filed SB 846 designed to preserve the privacy of Floridians in a continuously evolving world of digital technology. 

“The Fourth Amendment protects Floridians against unreasonable search of their papers and effects,” said Brandes. “In today’s increasingly paperless world we are seeking to clarify that cell phones and tablets are the modern version of papers and effects.” 

“Privacy is a fundamental right that we as legislators need to protect, and with technology changing rapidly I believe that we need to revise our laws to protect our citizens,” said Representative Carlos Trujillo, who is sponsoring the companion measure in the House of Representatives. “I look forward to working with Senator Brandes on this important piece of legislation.” 

The bill prohibits the search or seizure of the contents of a portable electronic device without a search warrant. In addition the bill will require a search warrant before a portable electronic device can be tracked by government entities. The bill contains exceptions for national security, the search of a missing minor, and established lawful exceptions to existing search warrant statutes.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.