PROVIDENCE – Two companion bills have been submitted that aim to protect citizens from the ever-expanding surveillance state. Senate Bill S134 and House Bill H5319 have been sent to their respective Judiciary committees.

Quoted from an article published by the 10 Amendment Center:

A bipartisan coalition of eight senators introduced Senate Bill 134 (S134) on Jan. 26. A coalition of five Republicans introduced a companion bill (H5319) on Feb. 1. Titled the “Electronic Information and Data Privacy Act,” the legislation would prohibit law enforcement agencies from obtaining “the location information, stored data, or transmitted data of an electronic device; or electronic information or data transmitted by the owner of the electronic information or data to a remote computing service provider without a warrant based on probable cause.

Passage of S134/H5319 would help block the use of cell-site simulators, known as “stingrays.” These devices essentially spoof cell phone towers, tricking any device within range into connecting to the stingray instead of the tower, allowing law enforcement to sweep up communications content, as well as locate and track the person in possession of a specific phone or other electronic device.

Senate Sponsors of  S134 are – Sen. Jessica de la Cruz [R], Sen. Thomas Paolino [R], Sen. Elaine Morgan [R], Sen. Louis Dipalma [D], Sen. Frank Lombardi [D]Sen. Dawn Euer [D], and Sen. Leonidas Raptakis [D]

House Sponsors of H5319 are – Rep. David Place [R], Rep. Robert Quattrocchi [R], Rep. Sherry Roberts [R], Rep. Blake Filippi [R], and Rep. Brian Newberry [R]

If you are wondering whether or not these tactics and equipment are being used in RI, according to this article Government technology titled “In Rhode Island, State Police and Federal Marshals Detail Use of Cell-Phone Tracking Tech” they are.

While neither bill is perfect and libertarians would probably like to see it go even further, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

So please contact your legislators and let them know that you want them to support this bill. You can find your legislator here.

Also, contact the the members of both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Judiciary Committee: