HB 150: A Violation of Privacy

The Senate Education Committee early this morning will hear testimony on HB150 Administrative Supoena, a bill which will make it o.k. to get personal information from your ISP and cell phone records without a warrant in certain instances.

Misty Fowler  offers a bit of history and persepctive about the bill over on her Saintless blog:

last year a bill passed into law that gave prosecutors power to get your contact information from your ISP and/or cell phone companies without a judge when they suspect a child sex crime. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, in the time since going into effect,” more than 200 such subpoenas have been issued, or slightly more than one a day.”This year, the Utah Legislature is considering a bill (HB 150) that would extend that to include suspected felonies, as well as cyber-stalking and cyber-harassment (misdemeanors).

This bill has passed through committee, and will be voted on in the House. Rep. Brian King was the lone vote against HB 150 in committee. He asked Pete Ashdown to help him in pointing out the problems with this bill. Of course, number one was that it’s unconstitutional. The one I wouldn’t have thought of though was that it is anti-business:

"It is anti-business. Burdensome regulation against Internet Service Providers, making them a wholesale detective arm of law-enforcement is punitive against small ISPs and favors large ISPs with more resources. There are no nationwide ISPs headquartered in Utah and this law will help drive the already struggling small Utah-based ISPs under. Yahoo has already published their price list for violating your personal privacy. Smaller ISPs are more likely to protect your privacy as long as the law stands with them, they don’t have the money to fight a court battle in your favor."

HB 150…. was defeated in the House yesterday[February 25], but Pete Ashdown writes that Rep. Daw wants to bring it back from the dead as a slimmed down version covering kidnapping and cyberstalking.

This is NOT okay! There is a reason we have a legal system that uses warrants. Yes, kidnapping and cyberstalking are bad things. But, a warrant isn’t some kind of undue hardship. It’s a process we have in place for a reason.

So, take a look again at Pete Ashdown’s flier against HB 150, and then call/write your Representatives and ask them to vote no.

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)


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