Bipartisan effort to protect New Mexican’s electronic privacy continues to NM House

SANTA FE, N.M. —Together with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth (D – Santa Fe) and Rep. Jim Dines (R - Albuquerque) reintroduced the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a bill that will make important advancements in protecting the privacy of all people in New Mexico by updating our antiquated digital privacy laws and requiring police to get a warrant before accessing our private electronic data. The NMECPA passed the Senate today with a unanimous vote.

SB 61 brings New Mexico’s digital privacy laws into the 21st century during a time when federal law has fallen short in protecting our emails, text messages, and other digital documents from searches by law enforcement.

“All of us rely on mobile devices and the Internet to communicate, store personal documents, and conduct research, sometimes about sensitive information like politics, personal finances, and health care and treatment. Law enforcement should not be able to take advantage of outdated privacy laws to access our sensitive digital information without proper judicial oversight. This bill aims to change that, and I’m happy my colleagues took this important step today.” said Sen. Wirth

“I am happy to sponsor this proposal to ensure that private digital communications in New Mexico have the same protections as letters, paper files, and other personal documents. This bill will protect us from unreasonable government searches by state and local law enforcement, both on and offline,” said Rep. Dines.

“There’s no reason for email to have less protections than snail mail. Yet today law enforcement can search much of your electronic communications without a warrant, including your old emails, texts, chats, social media posts, even your Dropbox and other cloud storage, all without ever going to a judge. We hope the Governor signs this important piece of legislation to protect New Mexicans’ digital privacy,” said Steven Robert Allen, Director of Public Policy at the ACLU of New Mexico.

Last year, the NMECPA was introduced by the same sponsors and was part of a multi-state, national effort to increase privacy protections in 16 different states. California passed similar legislation in 2015.

Read the full bill here.

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Follow this bill’s progress using the Twitter hashtag #NMECPA

 

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