California Surveillance Equipment Bill Gains Important Amendments with Urging of Privacy Rights Advocates; Passes Committee
UPDATE: (5/31/17) SB21 passed the California State Senate 21-15, and now will move on to the Assembly.
SB 21 was filed in December by state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), proposing that all new law enforcement surveillance equipment to be first approved by local government. The approval process would require agencies to submit a Surveillance Use Policy at a meeting open to the public. They would have to specify the type of technology to be use, data to be collected, who would have data access, storage duration, and the steps taken to ensure security and privacy. The bill had initially been approved by the Judiciary Committee.
- Separate use policies for each kind of equipment
- Affirmative legislative approval required for use policies and impact reports or use ceases
- Ongoing usage reporting no less than every two years
- Amendments required due to requesting funds for acquiring, using, or accessing information from any new technology
- Private right of action for those harmed by violation of the policy
- Limitations on exigent use
- Inclusion of district attorneys
The bill, in its latest incarnation, has now passed through the Budget Committee (aka. Appropriations), and can now move on to the State Senate and Assembly.