Tennessee governor’s office mum on cell phone tracking bill

By Josh Peterson | Watchdog.org

Despite wide support in both the House and Senate of the Tennessee General Assembly, Gov. Bill Haslam’s office isn’t letting on whether Haslam will sign a bill requiring law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant before tracking the location of a cell phone.

HOLD, PLEASE: Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam: Haslam’s office is mum on a bill banning law enforcement from tracking cell phone locations without a warrant.

A bill recently passed by the Assembly, SB 2o87, bans law enforcement from accessing the location data of an electronic device without a warrant.

Haslam spokesperson Dave Smith told Watchdog.org, “The governor will review the legislation, like he does all bills, before taking any action on it.”

If signed by Haslam, the bill would take effect on July 1.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the speaker of the Senate, on Thursday signed the bill, which is modeled after similar legislation passed in Montana. The bill also awaits the signature of the speaker of the House, Rep. Beth Harwell.

Virginia and Utah also recently passed their own laws addressing how police obtain data from suspects’ electronic devices, and Missouri residents could vote during the fall to codify electronic privacy rights into their state constitution.

Contact Josh Peterson at jpeterson@watchdog.org. Follow Josh on Twitter at @jdpeterson

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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