Protecting Your Electronic Information is on the Ballot this Election

A constitutional amendment regarding the use of search warrants for electronic information is on the ballot for Michigan voters in the upcoming November 3, 2020 election.

If passed, Michigan Proposal 20-2, the Search Warrant for Electronic Data Amendment would prohibit unreasonable searches or seizures of a person’s electronic data and communications, such as what is found in emails and on cell phones. It would also require a search warrant to access a person’s electronic data or communications; similar to what is required currently by the government for a person’s house or things. The language for this amendment is sponsored by Sen. Jim Runestad (R-15) and would be added to Section 11 of Article I of the Michigan Constitution.

Sen. Jim Runestad (R-15) is sponsoring the language for Michigan Proposal 20-2.
Photo credit: www.SenatorJimRunestad.com

One of the reasons Runestad and others consider an amendment like this is important is that five years ago, The Detroit News reported how Oakland County law enforcement and the Michigan State Police have used Hailstorm and Stingray devices; suitcase-size technology that replicates a cell tower and pulls cell data from anyone within the area without their knowledge or consent. However, those who oppose the amendment say it could hinder police and it’s unnecessary since agencies typically already seek warrants. Sen. Runestad disagrees. Earlier this year, The Associated Press quoted him in an article saying, “Americans shouldn’t be forced to choose between using new technologies and protecting their privacy from authority.” And that the measure, “will provide more clarity in the law.”

In recent years, similar referendums have passed overwhelmingly in New Hampshire and Missouri. On November 3, voters will get a chance to decide whether or not Michigan joins them.  

Learn more about the Oakland County Parks Proposal here.

About Sarah Hovis

Word manipulator, arts appreciator, sports spectator, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at [email protected].

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