Attorney Explains How Privacy Law Could Interact With N.S.A. - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Attorney Explains How Privacy Law Could Interact With N.S.A.

BOZEMAN -

Over the summer, electronic privacy became a hot issue when National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden leaked documents exposing government collection of citizens cell phone data.

Montana was the first state to prohibit the government from collecting location data from your mobile device.

But since state lawmakers can only make state laws, and the U.S. Constitution has the supremacy clause, local lawyer Lindsey Beck isn't sure how this law will interact with federal agencies like the N.S.A.

"One thing that's for sure is Montana State local law enforcement agencies won't be able to use your cell phone to find out the location where you are," said Beck.

She said it could affect how state and federal agencies interact with each other.

"State law enforcement agencies might have a valid argument to say that we're not going to cooperate with these federal agencies, that they want Montana agents help using this kind of tracking information," said Beck. 

While Montana's current law only limits the government, House Bill 603's author, Daniel Zolnikov, originally wanted the law to apply to more than just the government.

"We wanted to basically obtain consent for the collection of your personal information," said Zolnikov. "And that's online, through departments, organizations, companies."

Many people already consent for companies like Google to track their location without even realizing it.

In September, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt addressed the issue to reporters at the Economic Job Summit in Butte, saying Google only collects information if you say it is OK.

"We view for the location services, we give "opt in" and with "opt in" we think that's fine," said Schmidt.

Many users opt in to Google collecting your location data when you first download a Google app on your smart phone or tablet.

But if there an emergency, Google can track you location, even if you don't give them permission.

"The phone for example, for e- 911 services have to know where you are, unless you give us permission, we forget that information very quickly," Schmidt said.

911 is one of the exceptions to the Montana law.

Other exceptions include if you report it stolen, if you say the government can track your phone, or if there is an immediate life threatening situation.

Texas also passed a similar law earlier this year.

There, state and local governments must provide a search warrant before collecting people's emails.

Right now Senator Jon Tester is co-sponsoring a bill called the U.S.A. Freedom Act that will pull back the N.S.A., limiting them to only spy on specific terrorist suspects.

Congressman Steve Daines is sponsoring a house version of a similar bill.

  • NationalMore>>

  • The Latest: Man accused of serial killings is charged

    The Latest: Man accused of serial killings is charged

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 2:48 PM EDT2018-04-25 18:48:23 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 3:50 PM EDT2018-04-25 19:50:19 GMT
    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File). FILE - In this June 15, 2016, file photo, law enforcement drawings of a suspected serial killer believed to have committed at least 12 murders across California in the 1970's and 1980's are displayed at a news confere...(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File). FILE - In this June 15, 2016, file photo, law enforcement drawings of a suspected serial killer believed to have committed at least 12 murders across California in the 1970's and 1980's are displayed at a news confere...
    A law enforcement official has identified a suspected California serial killer as 77-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo, a former police officer.
    A law enforcement official has identified a suspected California serial killer as 77-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo, a former police officer.
  • Lawyers say others were hurt in Copperfield illusion show

    Lawyers say others were hurt in Copperfield illusion show

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 2:38 PM EDT2018-04-25 18:38:32 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 3:49 PM EDT2018-04-25 19:49:53 GMT
    (AP Photo/John Locher). Illusionist David Copperfield appears in court Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Las Vegas. Copperfield testified in a negligence lawsuit involving a British man who claims he was badly hurt when he fell while participating in a 2013 ...(AP Photo/John Locher). Illusionist David Copperfield appears in court Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Las Vegas. Copperfield testified in a negligence lawsuit involving a British man who claims he was badly hurt when he fell while participating in a 2013 ...
    Lawyers for a British tourist who says he was badly hurt taking part in an illusion by Las Vegas Strip headliner David Copperfield in 2013 say they've found three other people who were injured over the years.
    Lawyers for a British tourist who says he was badly hurt taking part in an illusion by Las Vegas Strip headliner David Copperfield in 2013 say they've found three other people who were injured over the years.
  • US officials slam Washington state nuke waste site problems

    US officials slam Washington state nuke waste site problems

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 2:18 PM EDT2018-04-25 18:18:23 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 3:49 PM EDT2018-04-25 19:49:17 GMT
    (AP Photo/Manuel Valdes, file). FILE - In this May 9, 2017, file photo, signs are posted near the entrance to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Richland, Wash. Federal investigators say problems first identified six years ago continue to plague the mu...(AP Photo/Manuel Valdes, file). FILE - In this May 9, 2017, file photo, signs are posted near the entrance to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Richland, Wash. Federal investigators say problems first identified six years ago continue to plague the mu...
    U.S. investigators say problems first identified six years ago at a Washington state site where deadly nuclear waste is treated continue to plague the multi-billion dollar plant.
    U.S. investigators say problems first identified six years ago at a Washington state site where deadly nuclear waste is treated continue to plague the multi-billion dollar plant.
  • Most Popular

Powered by Frankly

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.