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Lawmaker proposes electronic privacy amendment to state constitution

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A state lawmaker wants to amend the Michigan Constitution to ensure there is a right to keep electronically stored information private.

State Senator Jim Runested says laws have not kept pace with the ways personal information can be taken from computers, cell phones, tablets and web sites. He says law enforcement should not be allowed to go searching through a person’s electronically stored information without a court’s permission.

“If they need to act to immediately act to save someone’s life, something along those lines, they’re permitted to do it. But, other than that, they have to get a warrant.”

Runested says an amendment to the state constitution would be better than settling questions case by case.

The amendment would have to be approved by voters in a statewide election. It can be placed on the ballot by super-majorities of the House and the Senate. 

Rick Pluta is the Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is heard daily on WCMU's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.