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Resolution would increase protections for electronic data

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Michiganders may have the opportunity, during the 2018 election, of voting for increased protections against the search and seizure of their electronic devices.

Michigan’s fourth amendment requires a warrant to access the personal effects and property of a person.

But lawmakers say the US fourth amendment, which Michigan’s fourth is modeled on, has been interpreted to exclude electronic communications and data.

State Representative Jim Runestadt- R, Oakland county, introduced a resolution that would include electronic data under fourth amendment protections. He said sweeping changes need to be made to protect all current and future ways of sharing and storing data.

“We need to respect people’s privacy rights in this country. It is the cornerstone of our freedom.”

Runestadt said a resolution like this is important, especially at a time when surveillance equipment is improving in local police departments.

“One of the real concerns is that there is now a proliferation of military grade equipment that is being provided by the military as surplus to departments all over the nation. This equipment can mimic a cellphone tower and pull all the data from your phone or listen in and tape all of your conversations.”

Runestadt said the measure appears to have wide ranging bipartisan support and he is confident it will move quickly through the House and Senate.

If it passes the resolution will appear on the 2018 ballot.