Utah closer to requiring warrants for cell phone location data


By Josh Peterson | Watchdog.org

Law enforcement soon might need a warrant to access cell phone location data in Utah.

DATA BREACH: Cell phones and smart phones are treasure troves of data for law enforcement agencies.

In a 71-2 vote Monday, the Utah House passed a bill that would require “a governmental entity obtain a search warrant before obtaining the location information of an electronic device.”

Law enforcement would be exempt from the warrant requirement in emergencies.

H.B. 128 is pending before the state Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee.

Republican Sen. Mark Madsen, the bill’s Senate sponsor, did not immediately respond to Watchdog.org’s request for comment.

The future of the bill, however, remains unclear.

Nate McDonald, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s spokesman, told Watchdog.org in an email the governor’s office has yet to take a position on the bill and is waiting for it to pass the Legislature.

“The bill has not come to the Governor’s Office yet. We typically do not comment or take a position until the bill is passed and sent to the governor,” said McDonald.

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

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