Search warrants

Florida lawmakers have proposed that the government be required to obtain a warrant before searching the contents of “portable electronic devices” or tracking their locations.  The bill, S.B. 846, was introduced by State Representative Jeff Brandes and would go into effect on July 1, 2013.

The proposed Florida law would apply to “portable electronic devices,” such as cellphones.  The bill defines a “portable electronic device” as “an object capable of being easily transported or conveyed by a person which is capable of creating, receiving, accessing, or storing electronic data or communications and that communicates with, by any means, another entity or individual.”  The bill specifically prohibits two different government actions.  First, the “contents and communications” of a portable electronic device, which include “data or information contained in or transmitted from” the device, may not be searched or seized by the government without a warrant.  The warrant requirement is subject to certain exceptions in the bill, such as searches related to national security, missing children, emergencies that are reasonably believed to involve death or serious physical injury, and existing exceptions to the warrant requirement.

Continue Reading Proposed Florida Law Would Require Warrants for Cellphone Searches