Proposed Utah Bill Will Protect Utah Citizen’s Data From Unreasonable Searches and Seizures By Police

There has been a global trend toward stricter data privacy regulations since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”) in the European Union. Most of the introduced and implemented legislation has focused on the manner in which companies interact with consumers. However, Utah State Representative Craig Hall has introduced a state bill that would focus on the manner in which law enforcement interacts with Utah’s data.

House Bill 57 if implemented would require police to obtain a warrant before being able to access any electronic data of consumers shared with third parties. This would include data generated through the use of phone apps (i.e., Snapchat), social media (i.e., Facebook), and remote storage services (i.e., Google Drive). In practice before a law enforcement officer would be able to seize electronic information from a third party (such as Facebook, Google, or Twitter), they would be required to obtain a search warrant.

Law enforcement representatives have been critical of this proposed measure for its possible impact on their ability to investigate criminal matters. However, Hall and other members of the Utah legislature do not believe requiring law enforcement to simply secure a warrant before accessing this information is a meaningful barrier. The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah also agrees with this rationale, insisting that the law must recognize the evolving technological landscape.

Historically, our Courts have held that when information is shared with a third party, individuals sharing that information no longer have a privacy interest in that information. However as technology increasingly becomes a part of our daily lives, sharing such information is less a choice and more a necessity of life.

As this bill awaits an upcoming vote in the Utah legislature, our experienced attorneys at Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, P.C. will continue to monitor this latest development in domestic data privacy regulation. Our attorneys have advised clients on international and domestic data privacy compliance for years and will continue to do so as the global trend moves toward stricter data privacy regulations. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. We will be happy to work with you and to help equip your company for compliance in this constantly evolving area.

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