The American Civil Liberties Union announced Wednesday that it’s working with legislators in 16 states to introduce laws on a number of privacy issues. It’s part of a bipartisan plan that Congress has largely ignored, the ACLU says, to pass pro-privacy legislation.
The ACLU, a lobby group that’s long advocated strong protections for individual privacy, is behind a new plan that calls on state and local lawmakers to enact state laws to protect consumer rights. The bills vary from state to state but include provisions meant to require police agencies to obtain a warrant before using Stingray cell site simulators.
They also call for the rapid deletion of data collected by automatic license plate readers, a prohibition on companies accessing employees’ social media accounts and a number of proposals that would slow third-party access to student data. New York, Massachusetts, Illinois and Virginia are among the 16 states participating in some form.
“A bipartisan consensus on privacy rights is emerging, and now the states are taking collective action where Congress has largely been asleep at the switch,” Anthony Romero, the ACLU executive director, said in a statement Wednesday. “This movement is about seizing control over our lives. Everyone should be empowered to decide who has access to their personal information.”
The campaign, known as #TakeCTRL, comes after the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act was passed into law last year, instantly giving California one of the strongest privacy bills in the nation. The law requires California police agencies to obtain a warrant before searching residents’ emails, texts and location data.
That law failed to spark momentum for a comprehensive national privacy law, as advocates had anticipated.