16 States Introduce Legislation to Limit Surveillance and Protect Student and Employee Privacy
Nationwide Effort Aims to Empower Americans to “Take Control” of Their Privacy
NEW YORK - Today at 2 p.m. ET, a nationwide coalition of legislators from both parties and advocacy groups from across the political spectrum will simultaneously announce legislation in 16 states and the District of Columbia that would provide new privacy protections on a range of issues, including student data privacy, employee data privacy, location tracking, and electronic communications.
“A bipartisan consensus on privacy rights is emerging, and now the states are taking collective action where Congress has been largely asleep at the switch,” said Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which coordinated the multi-state initiative. “This movement is about seizing control over our lives. Everyone should be empowered to decide who has access to their personal information.”
The participating states, which are home to approximately 100 million people, are Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, plus the District of Columbia. An embeddable interactive map showing the participating states and the bills being introduced is at:
Romero was joined on a teleconference today by a bill sponsor, Michigan State Rep. Peter Lucido (R), and the executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center, Michael Boldin. Romero and Boldin co-authored an op-ed published online today by Time magazine.
“We are united in our belief that if the government has a legitimate reason for wanting to access someone’s communications or to use a device to track someone’s movements, it must get a warrant,” Romero and Boldin wrote. “We also believe that if corporations want to track what Americans, including our children, do online, on private social media pages, or in school, they must get clear and express permission to do so. Without a warrant or our permission, they simply shouldn't be doing it.”
The bills, which vary from state to state, cover the following subjects:
- Student Information Systems Privacy: Requires express and specific parental or student permission before student data is used for a non-educational purpose by a third party
- “1-to-1 Device” Privacy: On computing devices that are loaned to students, limits the ability of schools and third parties to access, track, and utilize information about student behavior and communications made.
- Student Personal Technology on Campus: Ensures that the same warrant protections that apply to students’ personal electronic devices away from school apply when students are on campus.
- Student Social Media Privacy: Prohibits educational institutions from demanding access to students’ social media accounts, except under specific, limited circumstances.
- Employee Social Media Privacy: Prohibits companies from demanding access to current or prospective employees’ social media accounts, except under specific, limited circumstances.
- State Electronic Communications Privacy (StateECPA): Prohibits the government from reading the contents of electronic communications without a warrant, and, in some cases, applies the same standard to location tracking. Builds on the recent bipartisan passage of the nation’s strongest digital privacy law enacted to date, the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA)
- Cell Site Simulators (a.k.a. Stingrays): Requires a warrant for the government to use cell site simulators to track a person’s location as well as rapid deletion of data inadvertently collected about people who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.
- Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPRs): Requires rapid deletion of ALPR-collected data about persons who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.
A 2015 Pew Research poll found that 93 percent of adults believe being in control of who can get information about them is important. Ninety percent believe controlling what information is collected about them is important.
The poll also found that Americans do not want their personal information collected without consent and that they have a right to know when this information is being collected. Eighty-eight percent of respondents said it is important that they not have someone watch or listen to them without their permission.
Another 2015 poll by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research found that 90 percent of Americans believed that the next president should make “protecting privacy so we have more control over our personal information” a policy priority.
The multi-state effort is using the Twitter hashtag #TakeCTRL. Photos from today’s events around the country will be at:
Stories about privacy violations and more information are at:
A table showing all of the states and bills is below.
District of Columbia
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.