SALEM, Ore. (Jan. 4, 2016) – Privacy got a boost in Oregon on New Year’s Day.
On Jan.1, a new law prohibiting police from obtaining information from electronic devices without a warrant in most cases went into effect. The new law will not only protect privacy in Oregon, but will also address a practical effect of federal spying.
Sen. Chip Shields (D-Portland), Rep. Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland), Sen. Tim Knopp (R – Bend) and Rep. John Huffman (R-The Dalles) introduced Senate Bill 641 (SB641) last February. The bill prohibits state and local law enforcement officers from using “forensic imaging” to obtain information contained in a portable electronic device except with a warrant, or by consent. “Forensic imaging” means “using an electronic device to download or transfer raw data from a portable electronic device onto another medium of digital storage,” but does not include photographing or transcribing information “observable from the portable electronic device by normal unaided human senses.”
SB641 stipulates that any information “obtained” in violation of the law:
(a) Is not admissible in and may not be disclosed in a judicial proceeding, administrative proceeding, arbitration proceeding or other adjudicatory proceeding; and
(b) May not be used to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed.
The law exempts jails, state hospitals, and parole and probation officers from the restrictions.
The House passed the bill by a 44-4 vote, and the Senate approved the measure 26-2.
As originally introduced, SB641 prohibited any search of…