Privacy Legislation (7 Responses)

Recently, I have received a number of emails in the form below.

I share these concerns and I am pleased to cosponsor the Electronic Privacy Act. I will also cosponsor the following related privacy bills:

  • the Free Speech Protection Act (sponsored by Senator Chandler and Representative Lewis);
  • the Act relative to Social Media Privacy Protection (sponsored by Senator Creem);
  • the Act to Regulate the Use of Automatic License Plate Reader Systems (sponsored by Senator Creem and Representative Hecht).

Finally, I am sponsoring an Act to Protect Job Applicants’ Identity and Privacy, which would protect social security numbers and driver license numbers in the job application process.


I’m writing to ask you to sponsor the Electronic Privacy Act (“An Act to update privacy protections for personal electronic information,” filed by Sen. Spilka and Rep. Walz). This bill addresses a serious gap in Massachusetts privacy laws. It will require law enforcement officers to have a warrant in order to obtain our personal information from a phone or internet provider.

You and I–all of us, now–use cell phones, personal computers, and other electronic devices for everyday communication and internet access. Our phones and laptops record and store some of our most private thoughts, and map our movements, relationships, habits, interests and activities.

Unfortunately, laws that should protect our privacy have not kept pace with technology. Telephone and internet service providers keep records of our calls, texts and emails, who we communicate with, and where we go, when our phones and laptops are on. If law enforcement asks for this information, companies can–and do–simply give it to them, without a warrant and without telling us, their customers. Because of a huge gap in federal law, they’ll even turn over the contents of “stored” emails–unsent email in draft form or email that we’ve sent or received more than 180 days ago.

That’s not right. My private information–and yours–should stay private unless police have probable cause to believe we’re involved in criminal activity. The warrant requirement is good for public safety because it focuses law enforcement on actual crimes, and it protects the privacy of law abiding people like you and me.

We must renew protections for our fundamental freedoms. Now is the time to pass legislation with sensible, basic protections for our personal
electronic information. Please protect privacy rights and sign on to the Electronic Privacy Act today.


Senator Brownsberger:

Please sponsor three critical privacy bills:

1) The Electronic Privacy Act (SD1028, Sen. Spilka)

Would protect our personal electronic records held by phone and internet service providers–including emails and texts, documents stored online, GPS records, and data about our phone and internet use–from being accessed without a warrant.

2) The Social Media Privacy Act (HD2207, Rep. Gordon & SD315, Sen. Creem)

Would prohibit employers and educational institutions from demanding access to private social media accounts as a condition of employment or learning opportunities. Private communications deserve the same protections online and offline.

3) License Plate Privacy Act (HD1587, Rep. Hecht & SD342, Sen. Creem)

License Plate Readers (LPRs) scan thousands of license plates daily and LPR systems store information indefinitely about where and when you drive.
This legislation would protect innocent people from having their movements tracked.


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    Will Brownsberger
    State Senator
    2d Suffolk and Middlesex District